While on the run from what she said was an abusive situation in her Monroe County home, a 14-year-old girl wrote a letter to the FBI detailing the abuse she'd endured at the hands of her adoptive father, newly filed court records state.
The girl, with help from 31-year-old Bryan Rogers of Madison, Wis., mailed the letter along with an SD card that contained a video recording of Randall Pruitt raping her to the FBI office in St. Louis, Missouri, the records state.
The documents filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Madison show another side of the national story that began with the girl's disappearance last month from the Madisonville farm where she'd just recently moved with her mother, adoptive father and siblings.
Randall Pruitt is awaiting rape prosecution in Monroe County.
Also charged is Rogers, who drove from his home in Wisconsin to retrieve the girl after she begged for his help. The pair met online in late December through a gaming application and struck up an online conversation that carried on for several weeks.
He's charged with sexual exploitation of a child, tied to the video she made that allegedly shows Pruitt assaulting her.
Rogers' attorneys filed the documents Monday, seeking to offer greater context about Rogers' relationship with the girl.
They're asking the court to release him while he awaits prosecution.
They identify him as a well-intended man who just wanted to help the girl. He's a trained weather-spotter and weather buff who graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a bachelor's degree in atmospheric and oceanic sciences, according to Monday's court filing.
Rogers faces a court hearing Tuesday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Madison.
According to the newly filed documents, the girl begged Rogers repeatedly to help her. She talked about enduring abuse at Pruitt's hands for years.
They traded messages Dec. 27, 2018, about the girl making a recording of the sexual assault. She and her family had just moved to Tennessee from the Lawrenceville, Georgia, area.
Rogers wrote, "I know you don't want to do it but I don't exactly want to see your dad rape you either."
He continued: "But we need clear video evidence."
She replied: "Bryan do u understand how hard that would be though."
He wrote back: "yes. But understand that I can get in a hell of a lot of trouble for harboring you Unless you can prove what he did they will just release you back to him if we get caught."
She responded: "I understand bryan I guess. As far as need the evidence goes and u getting in trouble."
On Jan. 4, 2019, about a week later she told him she "didn't have the mental strength or confidence enough to get the video...I'm so sorry."
Rogers messaged her back: "Then I can't come get you. I'm sorry but I cannot risk prison time for you."
Later she wrote, "There has to be a way. I can't just stay here bryan I'm begging u plz."
"There is," he responded. "Be in your room when he comes home and have the phone recording. That way when he comes for you it's already recording and you don't have to worry about anything. And I can't help you if we don't have foolproof leverage against your dad He's been molesting you for 12 years, ---. If that' not enough of a reason to get the video then idk what else to tell you."
The girl later talked about killing herself. He told her not to.
Rogers suggested she run away to a friend's. But she said that wouldn't work.
"My friends will eventually rat me out to the cops," she messaged.
She also told Rogers that Pruitt at some point had shot her dog, skinned it and left it on the farm property. He carried and used guns, court records state.
Ultimately, according to authorities, she decided to make the video recording. Then on Jan. 14, she left her farmhouse in Monroe County with Rogers, and they headed to Wisconsin.
According to records filed Monday by Rogers' lawyers, the girl and Rogers plotted to mail evidence to the FBI in St. Louis after they got back to Madison, Wisconsin.
The SD card they mailed featured an audio-recording in which she talked with Pruitt about "encounters" with her, the video recording she'd secretly made of him and photos of Pruitt, records state.
They drove to St. Louis to mail the package to the FBI there, records state. It was mailed Jan. 27 or 28.
"The SD card also contained a video that (the teen) made using a burner phone -- the purpose of which was to assure her family that she was alive and well," the lawyers state.
They didn't know if the FBI got the package or what the agency did with it. In the meantime, Pruitt was arrested and charged with rape in Tennessee.
Lawyers assume the FBI looked at the girl's social media and figured out her connection to Rogers. They confronted him Jan. 31 in Wisconsin and he lied about her being in his mother's basement, according to documents.
Later that same day, they came back to the house, found the teen and detained Rogers.
He's seeking release from jail pending trial as well as a preliminary hearing in federal court.
Pruitt waved his right to a preliminary hearing last week in Monroe County. A grand jury is expected to review potential charges against him this spring.