News and Tribune

November 18, 2013

Attorneys prepare for Jeffersonville child molest trial

Jeffersonville man, 66, on trial following claims of a 4-year sexual relationship with child

By GARY POPP
gary.popp@newsandtribune.com

JEFFERSONVILLE — The trial of a Jeffersonville man accused of sexually abusing a girl over the course of four years is scheduled to resume today.

James L. Rogers II, 66, has been charged with class A felony child molesting and class B felony sexual misconduct with a minor. The first charge stems from allegations that Rogers, Jeffersonville, had sexual intercourse with the child when she was less then 14 years old, and the second charge stems from allegations that the sexual intercourse occurred when the Clark County girl was at least 14 years old.

The difference in the severity of the two charges is because of the age of the victim at the time of the alleged crimes.

Attorneys selected a jury during proceedings Oct. 22, but the trial was suspended after one day because new evidence had been located by the Jeffersonville Police department, and other scheduling conflicts.

Opening arguments are expected this morning from Clark County Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeremy Mull and defense attorney Perry McCall of Jeffersonville law firm Mosley, Bertrand, Jacobs and McCall.

In February 2102, the child, then 15 years old, was interviewed by police for unrelated matter, at which time she disclosed that Rogers had begun molesting her four years earlier.

“She [the child] further stated since she was approximately 13-years old, they engaged in sexual intercourse on a regular basis,” according to the probable-cause affidavit.

After the allegation of the sexual abuse was made, the child and her legal guardian agreed to place a recorded phone call to Rogers. The controlled call was made from JPD with investigators listening in on the conversation, Mull said. During the call, the child told Rogers that she had been questioned by police and she feared authorities knew about their relationship.

Rogers responded, “Not if you don’t say nothing. They don’t know a thing about us,” according to affidavit.

Rogers asked the child during the phone call if she had told anyone about their relationship. The child said she had not provided information to police about their relationship, but she had concerns about failing a polygraph test.

“Rogers told her to continue to deny the allegations and advised since she was a juvenile, she would not have to submit to a polygraph,” according to the affidavit.

Mull said Rogers was arrested a short time later, after he made contact with police.

“Immediately after that controlled call happened, [Rogers] called the police and said, ‘I hear you have been talking to the victim — thinking I may have done something. I want to talk to you about that because it is not true,’” Mull said.

Later in the day, Rogers went to the Jeffersonville Police Department, where he was arrested after being interviewed by investigators.

Rogers was incarcerated at the Michael L. Becher Adult Correctional Complex from Feb. 21, 2012, to May 25, 2012. He was released after $25,000 full-cash bond payment was posted.

Mull said the victim and the child knew one another, but declined to comment further on their relationship to protect the girl’s identity.

If found guilty of both charges, Rogers could face up to 70 years in the Indiana Department of Correction.