Alert: Man out on bond for Missouri sex crime charges said to be living in Fort Smith
Gerald D. Rodgers
Today in Fort Smith has been alerted to a possible dangerous situation by a reader after a man who is out on bond from Missouri for second-degree statutory rape and fourth-degree child molestation charges has apparently moved into a Fort Smith neighborhood.
Officials in Cole County, Missouri confirmed this afternoon that 45-year-old Gerald D. Rodgers was arrested in May of last year on the charges and after being released on $25,000 bond was allowed to move back to Fort Smith as he is awaiting trial.
The Cole County Sheriff's Department released a press release last May which stated the arrest came after a report had been made in April. Authorities said the alleged victim was a minor and Rodgers was living in Jefferson City at the time. Police say the incident allegedly occurred in September of 2019.
Sources say the victim was a household member but not a blood relative. The female minor was described as a "teenager".
The victim's mother later reportedly asked Rodgers if this had happened, and Rodgers claimed he didn't know, saying he had been taking sleeping medication at the time.
Authorities said the victim showed them a video taken with a cellphone of a conversation with Rodgers where Rodgers tried to dissuade the victim from going forward with the allegations against him.
Since Rodgers has not been convicted of the Missouri crime, he is not required to register as a sex offender or adhere to the requirements attached to that status. However, Today in Fort Smith has learned that he is living in a neighborhood in or around Osage Avenue in close proximity to Raymond Orr Elementary on Phoenix Avenue.
It's unknown how long Rodgers has been back in the Fort Smith area.
We have also learned that prior to moving to from Fort Smith to Missouri, Rodgers owned a flooring business and is said to still be working installing flooring locally. He also was involved with a local youth athletic team prior to the move to Missouri.
Rodgers was also served with an Order of Protection issued by the 12th Circuit Court in Fort Smith in May of 2020 from a woman with the same last name as him.