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Former police officer Rollins guilty of sexual assaults

Casey Grove
Anthony Rollins wipes a tear as verdicts are read on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. Former Anchorage police officer Anthony Rollins has been found guilty of sexual assault, criminal use of a computer and official misconduct for five of six alleged victims.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Former Anchorage police officer Anthony Rollins has been found guilty of sexual assault, criminal use of a computer and official misconduct for five of six alleged victims.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Former Anchorage police officer Anthony Rollins has been found guilty of sexual assault, criminal use of a computer and official misconduct for five of six alleged victims.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Anthony Rollins listens as the jury is polled after verdicts are read in court on February, 22, 2011.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
One of the victims in Anthony Rollins' trial clasps hands with a supporter as verdicts are read on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. Former Anchorage police officer Anthony Rollins has been found guilty of sexual assault, criminal use of a computer and official misconduct for five of six alleged victims.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Former Anchorage police officer Anthony Rollins has been found guilty of sexual assault, criminal use of a computer and official misconduct for five of six alleged victims.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Anthony Rollins is handcuffed following the reading of verdicts on Tuesday, February 22, 2011. Former Anchorage police officer Anthony Rollins has been found guilty of sexual assault, criminal use of a computer and official misconduct for five of six alleged victims.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
Former Anchorage police officer Anthony Rollins has been found guilty of sexual assault, criminal use of a computer and official misconduct for five of six alleged victims.
Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News

Former Anchorage police officer Anthony Rollins left court in handcuffs following his conviction Tuesday for four rapes while in uniform and on duty in 2008 and 2009.

Rollins faces 20 to 30 years each for the four first-degree sexual assault convictions when he is sentenced June 10, according to sentencing guidelines.

A state Superior Court jury also found Rolllins, a 13-year decorated police officer, guilty on multiple counts of second-degree sexual assault, including assault on a fifth victim, criminal use of a computer and official misconduct.

Six women testified Rollins forced them into sex acts or touched them sexually against their will. And while convicting Rollins on 18 counts, the jurors acquitted him of second-degree sexual assault and official misconduct involving an alleged victim from 2006.

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

"Goodbye," Rollins said Tuesday to a friend as a courtroom guard led him away in handcuffs. He had a tear in his eye just before walking out an open door.

One of the victims gave a one-word statement when asked how it felt to hear the guilty verdicts.

"Bittersweet," she told a reporter.

Another victim cried and squeezed her family as sunlight bathed the area outside the courtroom.

A supporter of Rollins, thought to be a family member, left the courtroom sobbing and in the arms of friends. His attorney did not comment on the verdict.

PROSECUTOR RELIEVED

Prosecutor Sharon Marshall said Tuesday she was relieved the jury convicted Rollins. Marshall said she felt that the jury took their time and Rollins got a fair trial.

Marshall also said she was glad the jury believed at least five victims' statements.

"I'm pleased that they saw that these girls were telling the truth," she said. "They needed to know that somebody heard them when they said no, and that a police officer can't do this."

Marshall said the 12-day trial wracked her nerves.

"You keep going to sleep, thinking, 'Did I miss something? Should I have said something differently? Should we have argued something differently?' "

THE ASSAULTS

On April 16, 2009, a woman referred to as M.O. in court documents told rape counselors, and then police, that Rollins had forced her to perform oral sex early that morning during processing at a downtown police substation for a drunken driving arrest.

Anchorage Police Department management put Rollins on paid leave and detectives served search warrants on his patrol car and home as the investigation started to gain momentum. Three months after the initial report to police, then-chief Rob Heun announced the charges against Rollins and said detectives had found a total of five women. Detectives discovered a sixth, listed as R.A. in court documents, as they made calls to women Rollins had contacted on duty

As a matter of policy, the Daily News does not identify victims of sex crimes unless they request it.

In court documents, the victims are:

• M.O. -- processed by Rollins after an April 16, 2009, arrest.

• B.O. -- processed by Rollins after an April 4, 2009, arrest.

• T.N. -- picked up walking by Rollins Dec. 30, 2008.

• O.W. -- picked up at an alcohol sleep-off center by Rollins Sept. 5, 2008.

• E.V. -- passenger in car Rollins stopped; she says he touched her, August 2008.

• R.A. -- said Rollins contacted her at her sister's house in 2006.

The jury acquitted him of sexually assaulting R.A., who testified that Rollins put her hand on his penis when they were alone in the kitchen of a home being inspected by child-welfare workers. Rollins testified he had never seen the woman before the trial.

Rollins admitted in court that he had sex while on the job. The police department fired him and won't discuss why or when, citing confidential personnel matters. He received a court-appointed attorney, Susan Carney, from Fairbanks.

ROLLINS DENIED ASSAULTS

During the trial, jurors heard detailed testimony from Rollins' six accusers, and then also from the ex-police officer himself, who took the witness stand and said three of the sexual encounters were consensual and three never happened at all.

Rollins filled out DUI paperwork and gave two of the women breath-alcohol tests. Two ended up in his car as citizens seeking assistance, and one he contacted was a passenger in a car he stopped.

Four of the women Rollins is convicted of raping were in their late teens or early 20s.

In her closing argument, prosecutor Marshall said Rollins used his position as a police officer for sex, calling him arrogant and overconfident.

Rollins used "soft, subtle power abuse, situational force," Marshall said.

Carney, his attorney, said the trial came down to a "credibility contest" between Rollins and his accusers. Rollins sinned, she said, but he didn't break the law.

Rollins' wife is a police sergeant who supervises the School Resource Officer program.

Rollins is a former police spokesman and played other high-profile roles in the department, representing the department at a job fair and as a member of its Honor Guard at a memorial honoring fallen policemen.

Police department spokesman Lt. Dave Parker declined to comment on the verdict and said Chief Mark Mew would give a statement at Mayor Dan Sullivan's weekly press availability today.

The December before the allegations came out, the department awarded Rollins a medal of valor for rescuing a man from a burning building. He received a Meritorious Conduct award in 2004 for assisting in anti-bullying programs in schools. He also made presentations in classrooms on topics including personal safety, such as "stranger danger," the school district said.

One of the women Rollins claimed to have had consensual sex with at the downtown substation testified she recognized Rollins from a talk he'd given at her elementary school when she was younger. She was the same age as Rollins' son, who also attended the school.

INVESTIGATING THEIR OWN

Sgt. Ken McCoy, head of the Anchorage Police Department's Special Victims Unit, said the department now can start rebuilding the trust it lost due to Rollins' actions. "It's hard enough for victims to come forward," McCoy said. "The victims took a very large step in this case to come talk to us, to have enough faith in this, that we would do the right thing and investigate one of our own."

Police officers' union president Derek Hsieh said he and other officers were disgusted by Rollins' actions.

A reporter asked about comments from Rollins alleging other officers were having sex on the job. Hsieh said those comments were "ridiculous."

"By no means are police employees perfect ... but when we make mistakes, we're held accountable," Hsieh said.

Discussions have been held about changes in policy related to the Rollins case, Hsieh said. Those included putting video cameras in police substations and inside patrol cars, he said.


By CASEY GROVE
casey.grove@adn.com