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VIPD Officer Receives 30-Day Sentence for 2005 Assault

Sept. 27, 2006 — Officer Earl Rogers Jr., convicted in late August of assaulting movie usher Gretta George at Market Square East Cinemas in July 2005, was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in jail by Superior Court Judge Brenda Hollar.
Rogers, whose sentence also included a suspended sentence of 60 days, was convicted of aggravated assault and battery, disturbing the peace and making a false arrest (See "Police Officer on Trial: Guilty on Three Charges").
During a hearing held Wednesday, prosecuting attorney Brenda Scales recommended that Rogers serve six months in jail for the aggravated assault charge and nine months suspended sentence for the other two charges. While no fines were recommended, Scales did ask for Rogers to undergo anger management counseling.
"The defendant has shown no remorse over what happened," Scales added. "We believe he's in denial and can't see that he lost control at that moment in time."
Requesting leniency, defense attorney Judith Bourne described Rogers as a man "whose life revolved around his family, his church and his work." She also described Rogers' behavior towards George as "uncharacteristic and completely different from the way that he has lived his life."
Bourne also described the "devastating impact" the conviction has had on Rogers and his family. In particular, she said that Rogers has been subject to "negative attention" in the media and throughout the community, has not been paid "in almost a year" and has been recommended for "termination" from the V.I. Police Department.
Since Rogers has not previously "been charged with or convicted of a crime," Bourne also requested that Hollar treat Rogers as a "first offender."
In light of Bourne and Scales' arguments, Hollar sentenced Rogers to serve 90 days, with 60 days suspended, for each of the three counts. However, the sentences will be served concurrently, meaning that Rogers will serve a total of 30 days jail time.
Rogers also has to pay $600 in fines associated with the charges, along with $75 in assessed court costs and a $200 administrative fee to the probation office.
Hollar, who said that it was always "difficult" for judges to "pass judgment on young males," also sentenced Rogers to an 18-month probationary period, during which time he has to undergo, and complete, anger management counseling.
Additionally, Rogers has to certify to the court that he has completed counseling; otherwise, he will serve out the suspended sentence — 60 days — in jail.
Hollar said Rogers must also write George a letter of apology.
Rogers, silent and motionless throughout the hearing, hung his head when the sentence was passed. He began to cry, however, when Hollar asked him if he wanted to make a statement.
"A lot has happened over the past year," he said. "The loss of pay in itself was very hard, because if there's one thing I've learned, is that the bills don't stop coming."
Rogers said that he was "hurt" that his fellow police officers "weren't in my corner" after the case went to trial.
"One of the greatest punishments for a person to go through, though, is having circumstances get so bad that they just don't want to go on But I know now that it's going to be okay," he said.
Bourne announced after the sentence was passed that the defense would be filing an appeal, and requested that Hollar stay the sentence for two weeks until the paperwork was complete. Hollar gave the defense until Oct. 6 to file the appeal, and the prosecution until Oct. 11 to respond.
After the hearing, George said she was "disappointed in the sentence," and had hoped that Rogers would be facing "at least six months" in jail. However, she said that she was "relieved" that Rogers had been recommended for termination from the Police Department.
"He hasn't given me an apology or anything," she said. "So it's obvious he doesn't really care about what happened to me."
When contacted Wednesday evening, Police spokeswoman Shawna Richards confirmed that Rogers has been recommended for termination. "The documents are being prepared and will be forwarded to the governor for approval," Richards said.
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