Woman claims earlier attack

Rogers

A 67-year-old man accused of fondling a 13-year-old girl on Folly Beach last month apparently went home to his condominium pool, where he chased and groped a neighbor that same morning, the woman told police.

The second alleged attack became public only because the woman heard about Fred Alexander Rogers’ arrest and decided to call police, she told them. Folly Beach public safety officers arrested Rogers again Friday on a warrant for second-degree assault and battery.

By Saturday night, he was back out of jail again.

Neighbors at the condominium complex where Rogers lives told The Post and Courier that they fear his increasingly erratic behavior. They questioned how he could get released again after allegations of two strikingly similar offenses within hours of each other.

Rogers left the Charleston County Detention Center on $5,000 bail. Asked about his recent arrests when reached by phone Monday, Rogers only said, “Goodbye.”

Rogers, who previously worked as an attorney in North Carolina, noted his own alcohol dependency more than 25 years ago when he surrendered his law license. His criminal record reflects an arrest nearly each year since 2008, mostly for drinking-related crimes.

Police picked up Rogers on June 23 at Turn of River, a condominium development just off Folly Beach where he lives. A girl’s family had told public safety officers that an older man, a stranger, sat on her at the beach around 9:30 a.m. and then rubbed her legs and genitals.

A county parks employee said beach-goers had lodged several complaints against the man, later identified as Rogers, for approaching people and making them feel uncomfortable, a police report said.

When officers came for Rogers at home later that day, a resident asked if they arrested him “for the event that happened earlier at the pool,” a police report said. The man described “another sexually based assault,” according to the report.

A woman later called police, after learning about Rogers’ arrest under suspicion of fondling the girl.

She told officers that she and her husband went to the community pool between 11 a.m. and noon that day. They saw Rogers, another condo owner, and exchanged pleasantries, the couple reported.

As the woman finished her daily water aerobics, Rogers put his arm around her and pulled her in close, according to a police report. The woman told police she pushed Rogers away but that he put his hands inside the waistband of her bathing suit, running his hands back and forth.

The woman yelled at Rogers, pushed him away and moved away again, according to the report.

Rogers followed her and began running his hands up the inside of her legs, the woman told police. She swam away and left the pool with her husband, the report said.

The woman told officers that she decided to press charges after learning about the alleged incident with the girl, because “she wants him to learn that his actions are not good.”

North Carolina State Bar records fill in some details about his life. Rogers voluntarily surrendered his law license in 1985, citing “an alcohol dependency problem which he fears will affect his capacity to practice law.”

He returned to practicing law a little more than a year later after a court finding that he “is no longer under said disability.” His license currently is listed as voluntarily inactive.

Rogers kept a clean criminal record until 2008, according to a State Law Enforcement Division report, when he began a series of mostly drinking-related offenses, nearly one each year.

The first, a DUI charge, later ended in a not guilty verdict at a bench trial, court records show. Rogers was arrested on another DUI charge in 2010, along with a public drunkenness charge, but the outcome of those cases could not be determined Monday.

In the fall, a woman told police that Rogers, whom she lived with, asked her to leave and began throwing her belongings over his balcony. The woman also told police that Rogers let her dog run free.

Police issued Rogers a citation for destruction of property and the woman a notice for trespassing.

On Christmas, two neighbors told police that Rogers had harassed them. A public safety officer warned Rogers not to return to the home but his neighbors called police again later, accusing Rogers of banging on their door around 11 p.m. and threatening to shoot one of them.

Officers arrested him on a trespassing charge.

In the case with the girl last month, just hours before the alleged episode with Rogers’ neighbor, an older man trapped the teenager on the ground and then molested her, she told police. Her grandmother pulled her to safety, and her family told the man to leave them alone, according to a report.

The family went into the water and waited for 20 minutes, but the man just stared at them, police said. When a lifeguard finally told the man to leave, he began cursing loudly and yelled at the girl’s family that “he would return and do as he pleases with them,” according to a police report.

Rogers left the park soon after police arrived. After learning of the alleged assault, investigators got a warrant and arrested him.

They drafted another warrant Wednesday, following his neighbor’s call to police.

Reach Allyson Bird at 937-5594 or Twitter.com/ allysonjbird.