Judge considers additional witnesses in sexual assault trial

SUPERIOR COURT: Rollins has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

September 23, 2010 


A Superior Court judge heard testimony Thursday on a move by prosecutors to call additional witnesses at the trial of a veteran Anchorage police officer charged with multiple counts of sexual assault and official misconduct.

Anthony Rollins was an officer for 13 years until he was suspended in April of 2009 and then charged that August with 14 counts of sexual assault and six counts of official misconduct. Prosecutors say Rollins assaulted six women over a period of three years.

Rollins, 43, pleaded not guilty to all 20 counts.

Thursday's hearing focused on a specific legal question before Judge Philip Volland: Whether or not the state should be allowed to call three witnesses in addition to the sexual assault victims who -- while not testifying directly about the alleged assaults -- could inform jurors about other behavior by the officer.

The additional testimony will show Rollins "being on the prowl," assistant district attorney Sharon Marshall said.

One of the women told the court Thursday she was 21 back in 2008 when Rollins picked her up on C Street and offered a ride home. She had been drinking with friends that July night, and as Rollins drove toward her South Anchorage home, he put his hand on her leg and asked for oral sex, she said.

She told him no. When they reached the house, she said, Rollins followed her inside to her bedroom. He offered to put a blanket on her and asked why she appeared to be sleeping in her clothes, a question that seemed threatening, the woman said. The woman left the room and Rollins ultimately left the house, according to testimony.

Volland can allow testimony from the woman, her younger sister, and a woman in a separate incident who also testified Thursday that Rollins made advances toward her during a drunken driving investigation.

Whether Volland allows the witnesses or not, the judge can reverse his decision later, pending additional information, as the trial progresses. Prosecutors might also decide not to use the evidence.

"And the judge could say, 'You know what, I'm not even going to rule on this,'" Marshall, the prosecutor, said.

Volland had not ruled on the issue late Thursday afternoon.

The trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 18, 2011.

Find Casey Grove online at adn.com/contact/casey.grove or call him at 257-4589.

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