A Maryville man charged with raping a juvenile female relative did not show for a court hearing Wednesday because officials said he died unexpectedly Tuesday.
Charles Duane Rodgers, 58, Ripley Drive, did not appear at a 9 a.m. hearing in Blount County General Sessions Court before Judge Michael A. Gallegos after being arrested Sept. 20 and charged with rape of a child less than 13 years old.
BCSO Public Information Officer Marian O’Briant confirmed Rodgers died Tuesday and that an investigation into his death had been opened. Sources say Rodgers took his own life.
Rodgers had been released Sept. 21 on bonds totaling $500,000 less than a day after he was arrested Friday at his Travelers insurance office in Knoxville.
Though BCSO would not release most information regarding the investigation surrounding the rape allegations, O’Briant did say in an email to The Daily Times that the juvenile female was between the ages of 8 and 13 when the abuse took place and that she now is 15.
O’Briant also said that the criminal investigation began in mid-August.
Though BCSO would not release more details on the case, The Daily Times obtained an audio recording through a Freedom of Information Act request for information about the Rodgers case.
In the recording, the voice of a young female can be heard speaking with a man, purportedly Rodgers.
The conversation consists of an exchange in which the female elicits details from the man regarding sexual acts he had performed on her earlier.
He can be heard both describing details of at least one sexual encounter and prompting the girl as to what acts she wanted to perform on him in the future.
During the conversation, the man also alludes to someone taking a shower at his home and indicates he doesn’t “want her to hear me talking to you. If she wasn’t here I’d be able to talk more.”
He also tells the female he will give her a signal if he needed to hang up quickly, which he does after nearly five minutes of conversation.
After the man hangs up, the girl can be heard sobbing. An older female-sounding voice in the background can be heard saying, “We got him. We got him.”
Rodgers sold insurance as a Travelers agent at the company’s Corridor Park Boulevard location in Knoxville.