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Wisconsin man charged with sexual exploitation in case of missing Tennessee teen

in Sirens

WAUSAU PILOT AND REVIEW

MADISON, Wis. — The case of a missing Tennessee teen found last week in Wisconsin took another turn Monday, when federal prosecutors filed sexual exploitation charges against a Madison man who was with the girl when she was discovered.

Bryan David Rogers faces charges filed Monday in U.S. District Court of sexual exploitation of a child to produce a visual depiction. Rogers, 31, made his initial appearance in court on Monday.

Police say Rogers met the girl online when the two were playing video games. Rogers struck up a friendship with the girl, who eventually disclosed to him that her stepfather was sexually abusing her. According to the criminal complaint, Rogers persuaded the girl to make a video recording of the abuse as “foolproof leverage” against the man, Randall Lee Pruitt, who is facing criminal charges in Tennessee related to the case.

The girl was reported missing Jan. 14 from her Madisonville, Tenn. home. As a result of the investigation, investigators in Wisconsin contacted Rogers in the afternoon of Jan. 31 at the home he shared with his mother and questioned him about the girl’s disappearance. At that time, Rogers allegedly told police he met the girl online and said that the girl had sent him a video of her stepfather abusing her — but he denied meeting the girl in person.

Four hours later, police returned to the residence and discovered the girl hiding in a closet, according to the criminal complaint. Rogers was arrested and a 7-minute video was discovered in his possession that allegedly shows the girl being sexually assaulted.

During a subsequent interview, Rogers allegedly admitted he drove to Tennessee to pick up the girl, then brought her back to Wisconsin after smashing her phone so her location couldn’t be traced. Police say Rogers avoided tollways and gas stations with surveillance cameras on the trip to avoid detection.

If convicted, Rogers faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and a maximum of 30 years in federal prison, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s office. Charges related to illegally taking the child across state lines are possible for Rogers, whose case goes before a grand jury on Feb. 20.

Rogers is scheduled to appear in court again for a detention hearing on Feb. 7.

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