Report: Department knew police officer had sex while on duty

Officer was a threat to women, lawsuits say.

Anchorage Daily NewsMarch 2, 2012 

Former Anchorage police officer Anthony Rollins.

MARC LESTER / ANCHORAGE DAILY NEWS Buy Photo

Police reports from an internal investigation of convicted rapist and disgraced ex-cop Anthony Rollins paint the picture of a sex fiend who prowled for women long before he was taken off duty and arrested.

The reports come from the Anchorage Police Department's files on Rollins and were filed in court Friday by a lawyer for women suing the 13-year veteran officer and the city that employed him. The lawsuits say Rollins' employers should have known he posed a threat to women after catching him having sex while on duty.

Christine Schleuss, a lawyer for five of the nine women, is seeking more information from the internal investigation reports because the summaries provided to her are incomplete, she said in the Friday filing.

"However, incomplete as they are, they describe (the city's) pattern of misconduct as it kept Rollins on the job, allowed him to run free -- in uniform and on unsupervised patrol -- while he continued to sexually assault innocent women," Schleuss wrote.

The sexual assaults for which Rollins was convicted occurred in 2008 and 2009. But the reports made public Friday indicate that his superiors and fellow officers were apparently aware that he was having sex while on the job years before the first rape victim came forward in April 2009.

According to one report, a rumor was circulating among Anchorage police officers in October 2001 that Rollins received oral sex during one of his shifts. An officer investigating the rumor talked to the roommate of the woman with whom Rollins was rumored to have had sex.

The roommate said Rollins drove a police cruiser to their apartment. He spent several minutes in a hallway with the other woman, who later told the roommate she'd performed oral sex on Rollins. The alleged sexual partner denied that when questioned by police, and so did Rollins during an interview two months later. The investigating officer deemed the allegation "unfounded," the report says.

In 2003, a "known prostitute" told police that a black officer in the Canine Unit -- Rollins was the only black officer in the unit, the report notes -- made sexual, vulgar comments to her.

"The Officer threatened her with arrest to get sexual favors however no sexual activity occurred," according to an affidavit by an Internal Affairs Unit investigator.

That's when the Internal Affairs officers joined forces with the FBI in an attempted sting operation that aimed to catch Rollins in the act. The sting employed an undercover agent who posed as a prostitute. She was placed in areas where she was likely to come into contact with Rollins, who stopped to talk to her twice, the affidavit says.

"During these encounters (Rollins) did not follow APD protocol in that he did not exit his vehicle and made no attempt to identify the undercover employee," the affidavit says. "The undercover employee described Officer Rollins' demeanor as flirtatious."

In 2004, former police Lt. Paul Honeman -- a department spokesman at one time and a current candidate for mayor -- learned during a second investigation that Rollins had been maintaining an adulterous relationship while on duty, according to the court file. A report by Sgt. Ken McCoy, who led the criminal investigation of Rollins, explains that Honeman and Lt. Anthony Henry found out about the relationship through electronic tracking, aerial surveillance and federal agents and police officers trailing Rollins.

"Lt. Henry advised that during the undercover operation it was discovered that while on duty Officer Rollins was spending an inordinate amount of time at a residence in the area of Homer/Tudor Drive," McCoy's report says. "When this occurrence was further investigated it was discovered that Rollins was engaging in a consensual sexual relationship with a woman at this location. The woman was said to be a member of his church."

Rollins ultimately admitted to having about 20 sexual encounters with the woman while he was on duty. He told the investigators he listened to his radio while at the woman's home and responded to calls from her residence. The investigators found that Rollins had engaged in conduct "unbecoming a police employee."

"He was not available to respond quickly while he was having sexual relations with (the woman). He did not notify dispatch of his location during his on duty contacts with (the woman)," a report says. "His conduct would have a tendency to destroy public respect for himself and the Anchorage Police Department if the facts of this investigation were known."

Rollins told the investigators the relationship was the first and only on-duty sex he'd had. But that statement, if true, would not be the last time Rollins admitted to having sex while in uniform. And it wasn't the end of a string of allegations against him.

Henry gave Rollins a negative work review for "personal activities" while on the job. He had overseen Rollins in the Canine Unit and believed, at least initially, that Rollins was a good candidate for the unit because of Rollins' apparent Christian values, strong family life and work in local schools, according to McCoy's report. Rollins' wife, also a police officer, worked as a school resource officer.

"Lt. Henry's initial impressions were that Rollins was of solid character," McCoy wrote.

After the poor review, though, Rollins was disciplined with a transfer back to patrolling Anchorage's streets. He ended up in the police department's Public Affairs Unit, where he was at times a spokesman for the department.

In August 2005, Honeman walked into the public affairs office "and discovered a surprised Officer Rollins lying over a desk. Although unable to verify it, Honeman believed there was a female under the desk," the affidavit says.

The incident is described somewhat differently in Sgt. McCoy's report.

In an interview with Lt. Henry, McCoy asked about a review Henry had written about Rollins.

"(Henry) stated that it was during this assignment that Rollins was caught having sex on duty by Lt. Paul Honeman. Lt. Henry explained that Lt. Honeman did not confront Rollins when he discovered the sex acts taking place in the Public Affairs office," McCoy wrote. "Lt. Henry stated that he later took it upon himself to confront Rollins about this behavior. He again recommended that Rollins be sent back to Patrol where he could be more closely supervised."

Municipal attorney Dennis Wheeler said in a Friday interview that Rollins was disciplined for the improper -- but apparently not illegal behavior. Police Chief Mark Mew said in February 2011, after Rollins' was convicted, that Rollins was "punished severely."

But Rollins remained on the force.

In mid-April 2009, a young woman reported to rape counselors, then police, that Rollins forced her to perform oral sex on him during a drunken driving arrest. Rollins was suspended the next day and fired sometime later. McCoy and other detectives discovered five other alleged victims, and a grand jury indicted Rollins that July. Rollins claimed at trial that some of the sex acts were consensual while others never happened. He was convicted of sexually assaulting all but one of the alleged victims.

Normal rules of evidence prevented the personnel issues from coming out during the criminal trial -- it would have been irrelevant or prejudicial to the criminal charges. But in civil cases like the lawsuits filed by the women, attorneys have more latitude in bringing up earlier behavior.

Chief Mew on Friday referred questions about the civil cases to Wheeler, the city's attorney.

"There's a difference between discovering somebody had consensual sex on duty, and you discipline them for that, versus somebody who is committing sexual assaults. You have to have the evidence," Wheeler said.

But with numerous reports on Rollins' bad behavior, did his supervisors do enough to protect the public?

"The fact of the matter is, you're talking about discipline applied by, not this chief, not this mayor, not me," Wheeler said. "There's a grievance process, there's progressive discipline, there's union representation. Whether that discipline at that time was in the realm of what would normally be done, I don't know."

The allegations included in the police reports made public Friday may be proved or disproved in court, Wheeler said. That's something that will need to be settled through the judicial process, he said.

"I think what's going to need to happen is people are going to have to look at all the evidence," Wheeler said. "It's easy in hindsight to say 'What if?' "

At least one of the nine lawsuits against Rollins and the city won't be resolved in court as the city has already decided to settle. In that case, the city agreed to pay the victim $52,500, Wheeler said.

As for the other suits, Wheeler said the city is insured up to $2 million and can ask the Assembly to vote on providing more money if needed.


Reach Casey Grove at casey.grove@adn.com or 257-4589.

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