A Wisconsin man who claimed he was only trying to help a teen girl who fled from her Tennessee home last month after her adoptive father reportedly raped her, may have also sexually assaulted the girl as well, according to a prosecuting attorney.
State Journal reports that U.S. Magistrate Judge Peter Oppeneer denied bond during a Tuesday court hearing for 31-year-old Bryan Rogers, who stands accused of sexual exploitation after allegedly convincing a 14-year-old girl, who reached out to him for help, to record her adoptive father, 41-year-old Randall Lee Pruitt, raping her in her Madisonville, Tennessee, home.
Rogers and the girl met on an online gaming platform, Roblox, and later began sending messages to each other via Facebook and through an encrypted messaging app.
After the girl sent Rogers the video, he drove over 700 miles from Madison, Wisconsin, to Tennessee and picked her up. He then drove her back to his mother’s Madison home, where he lived in the basement.
Rogers’ attorneys, Jonas Bednarek and Marcus Berghahn, claimed their client never had sex with the girl. However, Assistant U.S. Attorney Julie Pfluger argued in court Tuesday that a sexual assault examination on the teen girl, performed after authorities rescued her from Rogers’ home, showed sexual activity had occurred within the past three to five days. The dates were within the time ranges she was staying with Rogers.
Bednarek disputed the allegation.
Pfluger added that Rogers showed his abilities to hide from police after he reportedly admitted he avoided tolls and gas stations with cameras while traveling back to Wisconsin with the teen. At that point, the girl had already sent Rogers the the sexual assault video, but he never turned it over to authorities, Pfluger argued. Instead, he allegedly avoided any contact with police.
Rogers also admitted he smashed the girl’s cellphone so that they couldn’t be traced, Pfluger said.
Bednarek argued that the video his client asked for was for evidence purposes only, and reminded the court that Rogers helped the teen mail off a 6-page letter and an SD card to the FBI. Rogers drove the teen to Missouri to mail the package off to the the FBI’s St. Louis field office, then drove back to Wisconsin with her.
Information about the package delivery was absent from the initial affidavit written by state Division of Criminal Investigation Agent James Pertzborn. Pertzborn said at the hearing Tuesday that at the time the affidavit was written, he was not aware that Rogers and the teen had sent the letter and SD card to the FBI. Bednarek added that Pruitt was arrested shortly after the FBI received the package.
When police arrived at Rogers’ home on January 31, he allegedly lied about the girl being there because he wasn’t sure whether she would be returned to her father. Rogers didn’t know at the time that Pruitt had been arrested and charged with rape.
Oppeneer ultimately decided there was enough information to hold Rogers without bond until trial. The judge said that the amount of work put into hiding the girl, evading police and initially lying to them was in part, why he chose to deny bond.
Rogers’ next court appearance is scheduled for February 21.
Read below for additional details on the case
[Feature Photo: Bryan Rogers/Police Handout]