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Man charged in Racine Co. sex assault, 7 years later, complaint shows

Rape Kit Backlog
Posted at 12:17 PM, Apr 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-22 23:16:37-04

RACINE COUNTY — A 33-year-old Chicago man was charged after prosecutors say he sexually assaulted a woman during a date in Racine County seven years ago. Authorities say the victim had the DNA tested in 2015, and the suspect was recently connected to the case.

Devonja Rogers was charged with two counts of second degree sexual assault. Online courts show an arrest warrant was issued on April 14 and then canceled on Thursday. Rogers attended his initial hearing in Racine County Court on that day and officials issued a $10,000 bond.

A criminal complaint released Thursday states Village of Caledonia Police were dispatched on Jan. 9, 2015 to a home on Three Mile Road for a report of a sexual assault. Dispatch told police the assault happened on Jan. 4 and the victim had gone to the hospital that night for a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner, or SANE, exam.

At the home, the victim told police she had met Rogers via a dating website called Plenty of Fish. She said they had been talking for about a month before meeting.

On the night of Jan. 4, 2015 they met at her apartment to go have dinner at Applebee's. They ended up eating their food back at her apartment because she was not feeling well. They had been eating and watching TV on her bed when the assault occurred, according to the complaint.

The victim told police she was surprised the neighbors had not called police. After the assault the suspect left, the victim told officers.

The next day, she confronted the suspect about the assault over text messages. He responded, “you right I apologize for hurting you and not stopping when I should have I won’t bother you again”.

The victim provided to police two torn condom wrappers opened by the suspect, the complaint states.

The kit from the SANE exam was later sent to the Wisconsin Crime Lab for DNA testing.

On Feb. 18, 2022 Village of Caledonia police received a letter from the State Crime Lab announcing they had a potential hit. They found the DNA matched that of Rogers, who reportedly lived in the Chicago area. A photo of him matched the description provided by the victim, according to the complaint.

On March 7 police contacted the victim and presented her with a photo array which included a photo of Rogers. The victim dismissed all of the other photos, saying they were not of the suspect. But when she looked at the photo of Rodgers police reported the victim's complexion became pale. She then said she believed Rogers to be the man who assaulted her seven years ago. She said "she was 70% sure," according to the complaint.

"She most likely ... thought that it would never go anywhere, which is unfortunately my experience with the many survivors that we work with," said Maryann Clesceri, the manager of Aurora Healing Center.

Clesceri said justice for victims of sexual assault is uncommon, and even rarer is DNA hit in a case.

According to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network, or RAINN, out of every 1,000 sexual assaults, 310 will be reported to police and 25 will lead to incarcerations.

"I think the pain these survivors feel is so intense," she said. "And then the sentencing may be probation. It may be five years."

Rogers attends his preliminary hearing on Monday. He faces a maximum of 40 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000 if convicted.

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