2021 | Courts

Appellate court upholds 2019 Rockville rape conviction

Man was sentenced to 40 years in prison

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The Maryland Court of Special Appeals has upheld a man’s 2019 conviction of raping a woman in Rockville.

Dustin Thomas Rogers, now 27, was sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Rogers was convicted of raping a woman who was walking along Md. 355 near West Gude Drive in October 2018. Rogers attacked the woman, pushed her into the woods nearby and raped her, police said at the time.

The victim fought Rogers during the rape, freed herself and fled to a nearby office building. She asked for help from a security guard, who called 911.

Rogers was convicted in July 2019 of first-degree rape and third-degree sex offense. He was sentenced in November 2019 to 40 years in prison.

During the trial, Rogers asked the court to submit a second-degree assault charge in its instructions to the jury, according to a June 25 opinion from the Court of Special Appeals.

Rogers thought a jury might conclude from the evidence that he physically assaulted the victim, but did not sexually assault her. Rogers’ defense team argued that the jury should have the option of convicting Rogers of second-degree assault, but not first-degree rape.

Prosecutors objected to the defense’s request, arguing that a jury could not plausibly conclude from the evidence that there was no sexual contact, the opinion states.

The court did not submit a second-degree assault charge to the jury for consideration.

Following Rogers’ conviction, he appealed the case.

In the appellate court’s opinion, Chief Judge Matthew Fader wrote that the victim gave detailed testimony during the trial about the attack. The victim told the court that her attacker kept her in a chokehold while he went behind her, fondled her and raped her.

Roger’s appeal does not call the victim’s testimony about the rape into question, Fader wrote.

“Notably, Mr. Rogers does not identify any evidence in support of a different account of the attack than the one provided by [the victim],” he wrote.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com