Madison man charged in connection to missing Tennessee girl
A Madison man faces federal charges in connection with a missing Tennessee teenage girl that was found in Madison.
The U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Wisconsin said 31-year-old Bryan Rogers was charged in court on Monday with knowingly persuading a minor to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, and such visual depiction was transported from Tennessee to Wisconsin.
An affidavit supporting the complaint alleges Rogers came into contact with a minor in Tennessee through an online game. Rogers began chatting with the teen in December. The minor told him that she was being sexually assaulted. According to court documents, Rogers persuaded the teen to send him a video of her being sexually assaulted.
According to the affidavit, a video was sent to Rogers on Jan. 10.
Authorities went to Rogers' home in Madison on Jan. 31. According to court documents, Rogers claimed he only spoke to the teen online and never traveled to Tennessee to pick her up. He also claimed the teen was not in his home.
Later that night, authorities say they went back to Rogers' home and found the teen hiding in a basement closet. According to the affidavit, Rogers admitted to investigators he picked up the teen in Tennessee, and avoided tollways and gas stations with surveillance.
In a tweet shared Friday morning, the FBI Office in Milwaukee thanked the Dane County Sheriff's Office and the Madison Police Department for helping to locate a missing teenager from Tennessee. In the tweet, the FBI says the 14-year-old girl was found in Madison around 8 p.m. Thursday night-- nearly three weeks after she was reported missing.
In earlier interviews with WMTV's sister-station in Knoxville, WVLT News, the girl's parents said the teen was last seen Jan. 13 at 11 p.m. at her Madisonville home. Officials said her mother went into her room on the morning of Jan. 14 at 4:30 a.m. to find the teen was gone. Investigators said the teen's bedroom window was open and other clothing was missing.
Madison Police, along with the Dane County Sheriff's Office, confirmed with NBC15 News that they assisted the FBI in locating the teenage girl.
The Monroe County Sheriff's Office in Tennessee said her adoptive father was charged with rape on Thursday, the same day the teenage girl was found safe.
If convicted, Rogers faces a mandatory minimum penalty of 15 years and a maximum or 30 years in federal prison.
Some of Rogers' neighbors said they were surprised to hear what was happening in their neighborhood, which they described as usually quiet and family oriented. Neighbors also said they had been visited by the FBI and asked for any information they might know.
"When I came home from work, I believe it was a Thursday night, there were squad cars all over the place here," said Robert Moeller, a resident on Basil Drive in Madison. "At least five or six, sheriff and unmarked and marked."
Rogers is scheduled to be in court on Feb. 7 for a detention hearing.