Posted by: Ken Riter | August 23, 2012

Hate Crimes Are Still Real!

OMAHA, NE – Just in case you think anything has changed, it has not.  Hate Crimes are still real! Real people are still hurt by real hate.  I am just as angry, disappointed and saddened by the situation with Charlie Rogers, aka Rainbow Jane, as anyone else. Maybe even more so, because I refuse to look at this situation as having anything positive come out of it despite the claims of others.  One  fact is, as much trouble as these developments are causing the community,  Charlie is still a victim in her own right even if she is guilty.  Remember, she was arrested, but PLEADED NOT GUILTY to the charges.  Justice must still take its course.  People who live in a society that treats real human beings  like 2nd and 3rd class citizens do crazy things to escape the torment.   If Charlie is ill, I truly hope she receives the treatment she deserves. But, I will not refer to her as Rainbow Jane anymore.

I’m over the whole Charlie Rogers aspect of this anyway. Its done, she’s just a part of the process of justice now and I have other questions.  It seems according to reports the Lincoln mayor and a City Council member heard reports early on. The LGBT organizations of Lincoln were also working close with the LPD. I wonder how soon those organizations heard about the real situation, about how there was something suspicious going on with the case.  Even in the joint statement released by Lincoln’s LGBT groups they say, “Over the past few weeks, law enforcement has been very forthcoming in providing information to leaders of Lincoln’s gay and transgender community.”  This, with all those fundraisers going on and people thinking the money was actually going to help an alleged victim of a hate crime.

There were other things going on that raised red flags for me. The establishment of a separate fund that was presumably to be for Charlie’s medical bills.  Two board members of Forward Equality, including myself, very early on, were ordered to not speak out and to not ask local officials to speak out on the issue.  That didn’t stop Jim Suttle or Ben Gray from speaking at the Omaha vigil.  Forward Equality was never part of the circle receiving information from the LPD anyway.  If the Lincoln groups knew something and wanted to keep Forward Equality away from it, why did they not do the same with the groups holding the fundraisers, why not tell them to stop?  And they sure are quick to paint a picture of how the community came together.  I think we should examine some of the red flags first. I want to make sure that money doesn’t go to help pay to support or fight a ballot measure in Lincoln.  That money should really go back to the people who donated it.  According to reports, $1800 was raised for a fund for Charlie Rogers, but her current lawyer knows nothing about the money nor the fund.  The Lincoln City Govt recently delayed a ballot vote over Lincoln’s recently passed LGBT protections.  Also, about a couple of weeks ago, I was told that a friend or neighbor of Charlie’s, was ordered by Charlie’s counsel not to speak to any media about the situation or they would be sued.

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