Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated Steve Rogers' employment status. He retired from the Marysville school district in July.
The attorneys in a sexual assault case involving a former Marysville school teacher argued over whether the defendant forcibly assaulted the victim during opening arguments at his trial Tuesday.
St. Clair County Senior Assistant Prosecutor Megan Leyva Kelley said Steve Rogers, of Marysville, was controlling and angry. He assaulted a woman on two occasions in the fall of 2018 and in spring 2019, she said.
"This is a case about control," Leyva Kelley said.
In both alleged assaults, the victim clearly indicated she did not want to engage in sex, but Rogers held her and assaulted her, Leyva Kelley said.
“(The victim) is very uncomfortable, doesn’t want it to happen, (Rogers) doesn’t care," Leyva Kelley said.
The Times Herald does not identify victims of sexual assault.
Leyva Kelley said the victim disclosed the alleged crimes to police in August 2021 when they contacted her about a separate matter. Rogers admitted to wrongdoing when speaking with a police sergeant, she said.
"Another quote from this defendant, 'I was wrong for how I handled (the victim)," Leyva Kelley said, quoting Rogers' statements to the police. "'I'm absolutely wrong. I will be wrong until the day I can't breathe anymore.'"
Rogers' attorney, Lisa Kirsch Satawa, said the prosecution will not be able to prove that Rogers forced himself on the victim.
"You're going to find that this is a misunderstanding; that this is manipulative; that this is not proven beyond a reasonable doubt and that Steven Rogers is not guilty," Kirsch Satawa said.
Rogers is charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct and criminal sexual conduct assault with intent to commit penetration.
Rogers is also charged with two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and distributing sexually explicit material in relation to a second minor victim. St. Clair County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Amy Goodrich has said Rogers also allegedly assaulted the minor victim several times when she was around the age of 12. Around the age of 13 or 14, Rogers exposed the minor victim to inappropriate sexual material, according to court testimony.
The trial date for that case involving that victim has not yet been set.
While Rogers was employed as school teacher when he was charged in September 2021, Marysville Public Schools Superintendent Shawn Wightman said Rogers retired from the school district in July.
Contact Laura Fitzgerald at (810) 941-7072 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Port Huron Times Herald: Trial for former Marysville school teacher accused of sexual assault begins Tuesday