Cop pleads not guilty in sex assaults

Don Hunter

Suspended Anchorage police officer Anthony Rollins on Thursday faced a Superior Court judge, handcuffed and wearing yellow jailhouse garb with the word "prisoner" stenciled on his back.

Rollins' attorney entered not-guilty pleas to 14 felony counts, most involving rape or sexual assault, and to six misdemeanor charges of official misconduct.

His wife, police Sgt. Denise Rollins, sat with supporters in the first row of a crowded courtroom. She left without speaking to reporters.

The arraignment lasted only a few minutes. Superior Court Judge Philip Volland tentatively scheduled trial for the week of Oct. 12, but that is likely to change.

Rollins' bail has been set at $100,000 cash. He can only be released to a court-approved, third-party custodian.

His attorney, Steven Wells, said after the proceeding that he hasn't yet had a chance to look at any of the evidence investigators and prosecutors have against Rollins. "He's disappointed they felt it was necessary to bring charges, but he's also looking forward to trial when he has an opportunity to demonstrate he is not guilty," Wells said.

"Right now, the family is in shock. Everybody is trying to come to grips with what is happening."

Wells is perhaps best known for representing Rachelle Waterman, who was accused of conspiring to kill her mother in 2004. The charges against Waterman were dismissed, but she was reindicted this year.

The indictment against Rollins accuses him of sexually assaulting six women over a three-year period and of unauthorized use of a computer to gather information about people.

Typically, Wells said, police and other law enforcement officers who are jailed on criminal charges are held in protective segregation. He would not say if that was the case with Rollins.

A 13-year veteran of the Anchorage department, Rollins was decorated in December for rescuing a man from a burning building and in 2004 received a Meritorious Conduct award for assisting in anti-bullying programs in Anchorage schools.

Police began investigating him on April 16, when someone with the victims' support agency Standing Together Against Rape called the department's Special Victims Unit with a report that Rollins had sexually assaulted a woman while he was on duty.

Rollins, 41, was placed on paid leave, and an investigation over the next three months found five other victims he allegedly assaulted, beginning in March 2006 and as recently as the April 16 incident. He was suspended without pay Wednesday when he was arrested.

Outside the courtroom, Detective Sgt. Ken McCoy said the investigation is continuing.

"We're requesting anyone with information to please give us a call," said McCoy, who supervises the Special Victims Unit.

In a telephone interview later, Sgt. Derek Hsieh, president of the Anchorage police union, said fellow officers are disappointed and worried that Rollins' indictment will affect the way they are perceived by the people they serve.

"I went around to the different shifts in the last 24 hours, and different work units," Hsieh said. "People are concerned that the department will lose some of the public trust that we've enjoyed."

So far, though, officers mostly have been hearing sympathetic comments, he said. "There were several people who'd gotten e-mails, (and) citizens who had actually called in to dispatch with positive comments of encouragement, which was good to hear."

The union won't be helping with Rollins' legal fees, he said.

"We're not involved in the criminal stuff," he said.

The union sometimes provides initial consultations if an officer is accused in a duty-related situation, "but in true criminal cases, the employees are on their own," he said.

Contact reporter Don Hunter at or 257-4349.

The Rollins case

Court papers and police department statements show the following dates in the Anthony Rollins case:

April 1996: Rollins joins Anchorage Police Department

March 24, 2006: Jane Doe No. 6 sexually assaulted

Sept. 5, 2008: Jane Doe No. 5 sexually assaulted

Dec. 30, 2008: Jane Doe No. 3 sexually assaulted

March-April, 2009: Jane Doe No. 4 sexually assaulted

April 4, 2009: Jane Doe No. 2 sexually assaulted

April 16, 2009: Jane Doe No. 1 sexually assaulted

April 16, 2009: STAR reports sexual assault to APD; APD begins investigation

April 2009: Rollins placed on paid leave

July 14-15, 2009: Grand jury meets

July 15, 2009: Rollins indicted, arrested and suspended without pay

Video: Anchorage Police Chief Rob Heun's press conference