Jewish World Review March 27, 2001 / 3 Nissan, 5761
Judge Weinke, child torturer to
AT 1:30 this afternoon, in the county
courthouse in Fond du Lac, Wis., convicted child
torturer Angeline Rogers will come face to face
again with the best friend she has in the
Wisconsin legal system: Judge Steven Weinke.
Rogers -- convicted of crimes that included
repeatedly locking her 7-year-old daughter overnight in a tiny, filthy dog cage
in a freezing, unlighted basement -- was given no state prison time at all by
Judge Weinke, even though she had pleaded guilty to crimes that could have
put her away for 40 years (the crimes she was charged with committing could
have put her in prison for 95 years).
Even after Rogers escaped from a county jail, even after law-enforcement
officials in three states spent 11 days tracking her down, finally recapturing
her in Texas, Judge Weinke gave her not a single extra day of prison time.
Now -- after writing a letter from prison to Judge Weinke -- Rogers has been
granted a new hearing by the judge. In the letter, she asked him for a revised
sentence -- meaning that she wants her prison term either reduced or
Ken Kratz -- the district attorney in Calumet County, Wis., where the crimes
against the caged little girl and the brothers who tried to save her were
committed -- is mystified by the hearing that will take place Tuesday.
"I have no idea what this is about," Kratz said. "Obviously, I will ask that her
sentence not be reduced at all."
Rogers and her husband, Michael, were arrested in 1997 after their
11-year-old son walked alone, weeping, barefoot and coatless on a freezing
November night to the Brillion, Wis., police station because he wanted
someone to help his 7-year-old sister. He told officers that she was being
caged and kept hungry and thirsty in their basement; when they went to the
house, Mr. and Mrs. Rogers told the officers that there was no one in the
basement, that the boy was wrong.
Officer Daniel Alloy went down there -- and found the girl huddled in a
24-inch-by-17-inch dog cage, covered in her own waste. Mr. and Mrs.
Rogers were arrested and charged with the torture of the girl, and the beating
of their sons with rods. They pleaded guilty to four counts, with potential
prison sentences of 40 years.
Judge Weinke gave them no state prison time. Relying on a psychiatrist he
personally appointed to evaluate the family -- a psychiatrist who later
conceded that he had listened to Mr. and Mrs. Rogers' side of the story, but
had never spoken with the children -- Judge Weinke accepted the
psychiatrist's conclusion that what Mr. and Mrs. Rogers had done to the
children was "not felonious, warped and torturous," but instead "ill-conceived,
desperate and inept." Judge Weinke said they could live in the Calumet
County Jail for a year, and leave jail for up to 60 hours a week.
In sparing them from state prison, Judge Weinke said in open court:
"I have children, and I know what a challenge it can be even raising good
When Angeline Rogers drove away from jail and fled the state, and was
brought back before Judge Weinke, he gave her no additional time behind
bars. He said: "I'm not dealing with a rapist, a murderer or a pedophile. I'm
dealing with a woman who has shown self-destructive behavior."
The Wisconsin Department of Corrections revoked her probation and
ordered her to serve a 10-year prison sentence that Judge Weinke had
originally stayed; Weinke had no say in the probation revocation. And Judge
Darryl Deets, who presided over a separate sentencing on the prison escape
itself, sentenced her to four additional years, saying from the bench:
"Mrs. Rogers, you are not the victim. You are the offender -- and you have
consistently been the offender as far as these events are concerned."
Michael Rogers is already back on the streets. And Angeline Rogers wrote
personally from prison to Judge Weinke. We have obtained a copy of her
"Honorable Judge Steven Weinke --
"I've written you several times in the last few months, but I haven't gotten any
"The Supreme Court dismissed my appeals. I didn't have $150 per case to
give them. Your honor, once again, I'm asking again for a [revised] sentence.
Please? I believe that I have new information that was unknown at either of
the two sentencings that you gave me. I will hope to hear from you soon.
Judge Weinke said he would hear her request on today.
"I really don't know what to expect," prosecutor Kratz said. "She didn't say in
her letter what she plans to tell Judge Weinke, so I won't know until we're
there. All I know is they're having the hearing."
Angeline Rogers doesn't like being locked up, and wants someone to let her
out. There was a little girl who felt the same way. Her appeals were turned
down every night -- by Angeline
JWR contributor Bob Greene is a novelist and columnist. Send your comments to him by clicking here.
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