Food truck owner fights for 2nd chance after criminal past

The harsh realities of past mistakes can follow a person for the rest of his or her life, especially for someone convicted of a sex offense.

Even after paying legal debts to society, offenders looking to better themselves quickly learn of the stigma that keeps the possibility of a real second chance slim at best. Jamie Rogayan is a Level 3 sex offender, having pled guilty to two counts of rape in 2017. But believes he has done his due diligence for the past seven years to better himself and his community.

He is now fighting to prove so yet again after his food truck Cafe Rendezvous was suddenly removed from the schedule of a local school event. “This is no longer or has never been about public safety but the destruction of a small business,” he said. “This is the worst it’s ever been for me.”

Cafe Rendezvous was scheduled to participate in STEAMWorks Family Night at John Sedgwick Middle School April 25 when the South Kitsap School District received a tip regarding Rogayan’s past. A statement provided by the district says, “John Sedgwick will not be using Café Rendezvous for their STEAM event today or any future events.”

The sudden change is not a new battle for Cafe Rendezvous since its start in 2020.

Known in Bellingham as Jamison Scott Rogayan, his legal troubles started in 2015 when he was a co-owner of a bistro. Several women came forward with allegations of sexual assault; many of the cases had evidently reached their respective statutes of limitations.

In 2017, after an initial trial saw one count of rape dismissed by Judge Charles Snyder and another resulting in a hung jury, Rogayan would plead guilty to two counts of rape in a plea deal with prosecutors.

Upon his release, he would register as a Level 3 sex offender; he said he hopes to get it lowered to Level 1, and that he will be allowed to petition to be removed from the registry in 2027.

Since creating Cafe Rendezvous as a means to remain in the food industry while making a living in the COVID era, Rogayan said his past has annually reared its ugly head back at him. Social media attacks, loss of business and broken relationships have become the norm.

“It’s always been my due diligence that before I do business with anybody, I tell them. I made mistakes. I’m not the same person I used to be, but it’s my responsibility to tell you about this,” he said.

Rogayan recently took his fight before the Bremerton City Council, where he said with the guidance of faith, he has taken the journey of self-improvement and is committed to rewriting the narrative surrounding those such as him who have erred and done their time.

“Together, let us foster the environment of understanding and compassion. We are only human, and we make mistakes, and it’s what we do afterwards that matters,” he said.