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Judge to decide if accused can see his children

Rogers pleads innocent to sexually molesting a 3- and a 4-year-old

Posted: Friday, January 31, 2003

Juneau Superior Court Judge Larry Weeks is deciding whether a man accused of sexually abusing two young relatives can visit his children while he is out on bail.

Adam L. Rogers, 27, was indicted Jan. 24 on six counts of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, an unclassified felony, stemming from alleged incidents between February 2002 and January 2003.

He pleaded innocent Thursday at a bail hearing to charges he sexually abused two of his female family members, ages 3 and 4. The Empire is withholding the girls' names and their relationship to Rogers.

Rogers has been lodged at the Lemon Creek Correctional Center since his arrest Jan. 24. He is being held on $20,000 bail.

Defense attorney Louis Menendez asked Weeks during the hearing to release Rogers and allow him supervised visitation with his children, a boy and girl, both 3. He would be supervised by the state Department of Family and Youth Services. Menendez said Rogers has visited with his children, under DFYS supervision, while in prison.

But Assistant District Attorney Sue McLean objected to continuing visitations, saying Rogers should not be around any children for any reason.

"He is being charged with six unclassified felonies involving very small children," McLean told Weeks at the hearing. "I have a videotape of an interview with the youngest victim. ... It is extremely compelling evidence as to why he should not be granted continued visitation with the children."

McLean asked Weeks to view two tapes, which include an interview with the other alleged victim, in private before making his ruling.

Menendez called the tapes, which were recorded Dec. 6 by DFYS caseworkers, "dated" and "inflammatory."

"We have no objection to you viewing the tapes, judge," said Menendez. "You are going to see a tape done in early December of very young girl making some allegations - allegations which we believe were prompted by the interviewer."

McLean also objected to Menendez' request that Rogers' mother serve as his third-party custodian upon release.

A third-party custodian must keep a person who is out on bail within sight and sound 24 hours a day, and must report probation violations to authorities.

McLean said she was worried Rogers would have access to the family members he is accused of molesting because the alleged victims live close to his mother.

Weeks agreed to view the tapes in private and consider the custodial issue. Weeks had not ruled on the issue by the Empire's midday deadline today.

DFYS began investigating Rogers in December, Menendez said in court.

Authorities wouldn't say who originated the complaint.

According to court testimony Thursday, DFYS became involved with the family in 1999, when Rogers was convicted of domestic violence assault against his then-girlfriend, who was the mother of his two children.

Menendez told Weeks the girlfriend abandoned the children shortly after the incident and hasn't been heard from since. With Rogers as the sole caregiver, DFYS began working with him to ensure the children were safe.

Menendez said Rogers hadn't been the subject of complaints of sexual abuse from anyone until December.

McLean argued that given the age of the girls, they were unable to speak of the alleged abuse until recently.

Rogers' trial was set for April 17.



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