A Wisconsin man will spend a little more than 11 years in a federal prison for bringing an underage Tennessee girl to his home and having sex with her when she turned to him for help.
Bryan Rogers was sentenced Friday afternoon on a plea deal he made with prosecutors in Madison, Wisconsin, his hometown. U.S. District Judge William M. Conley imposed sentence.
Rogers admitted transporting the 14-year-old from Monroe County, Tenn., to Madison to have sex with her.
When he finishes his 135-month prison term, Rogers faces another 15 years on supervised release, according to an order from Conley. In early December, Rogers faces a hearing to determine if he should pay restitution.
Rogers, 32, struck up a long-distance relationship late last year with the girl. She'd just moved to Tennessee with her family from Georgia.
As they became more friendly she disclosed a horror story, court records state. Her adoptive father, Randall Pruitt, was forcing her to have sex and her mother wouldn't do anything to stop it, authorities allege.
The girl became desperate for Rogers' help.
Rogers, records show, said he would need proof of the abuse in order to help her. He urged her to secretly record incidents in which Pruitt was forcing himself on her.
The girl refused repeatedly and talked of suicide.
Finally, she made an audio recording of one encounter, according to court records. Rogers, however, said that wasn't going to be enough if he was going to get involved.
She relented one night and secretly taped Pruitt raping her, according to authorities. On Jan. 14, Rogers came to Tennessee to drive her back to his home.
She hid in his mother's house in Madison, according to authorities. They had sex.
Federal records state the pair plotted to deliver evidence to the FBI in St. Louis about the alleged abuse by Pruitt. They drove to St. Louis, dropped it off and returned to Wisconsin.
Meanwhile, Pruitt went public with his wife about the girl's disappearance, saying he was fearful something had happened to her.
Soon after, Pruitt was arrested and word of the case became public. Authorities also talked with Rogers.
"When questioned by law enforcement, he admitted he had been in contact with the victim online and that she had disclosed her sexual assault, but claimed he never met her in person, he did not go to Tennessee to get her, and he did not know her whereabouts," a release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Wisconsin states.
"During a search of his home, officers found the victim in a closet. The victim told investigators Rogers had picked her up in Tennessee and brought her to Wisconsin, where he engaged in sexual intercourse with her. The victim stated that during her two weeks in Wisconsin, she hid in Rogers’ closet or in the trunk of his car while he was at work."
Conley noted Friday that Rogers was talking to a vulnerable victim, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office, and "could have been a hero in this case by reporting the victim’s abuse to authorities; instead Rogers did not help her and further victimized her."
Madison U.S. Attorney Scott Blader called Rogers' crime "abhorrent," saying the two came in contact through an online game. The victim told Rogers she was being sexually assault by an adult on a daily basis, and that Rogers had persuaded her to make the video, even when she did not want to produce it.
"Instead of immediately contacting law enforcement, Rogers encouraged the child victim to produce a video of the sexual abuse, and after claiming to rescue her, he himself sexually assaulted her,” a statement by him reads. "My office is committed to working with our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to bring interstate child predators to justice.”
Blader said Judge Conley noted Rogers had targeted the victim when she was vulnerable and further victimized her, saying he 'could have been a hero' had he reported the abuse instead.
Pruitt faces prosecution for rape of a child in Monroe County.
Christine Pruitt, Randall Pruitt's wife and the girl's mother, pleaded guilty in July to evidence tampering in the case. She's to be sentenced next month.