Pennsylvania state police have arrested Wilkes-Barre Police Officer Robert Collins, 53, charging him with sexually assaulting four female victims over a 16-month period.
Investigators believe Collins sexually assaulted the victims while he was on duty and performing his function as a police officer.
State police say the incidents happened between August 2013 and December 2014. Collins was arraigned on felony charges Tuesday night. He remained silent as he was led away from his arraignment and taken to the Luzerne County jail.
Collins was charged with three counts of rape, two counts of aggravated indecent assault, four counts of witness intimidation, false imprisonment and related charges.
Investigators claim Collins used his authority as a police officer to force the women into his police car only to perform sex acts with him. He would then threaten to physically harm them if they told anyone about it.
Woman 1: In 2012, a 30-year-old woman reported being robbed by several individuals in the Sherman Hills Apartment complex. The woman told authorities Collins showed up to the scene in a marked city police cruiser.
The woman told police that Collins offered her a ride home. While in the car, Collins told her to perform oral sex in exchange for a ride home. She refused and got out of the vehicle.
Three weeks later during a child custody violation, Collins arrived at the scene and told the woman he would put her daughter’s father in jail if she agreed to give him oral sex.
In August 2013, the victim was pulled over in an unmarked police car by Collins. She said Collins, “patted her down.” Collins told her he wouldn’t arrest her if she performed oral sex on him, the victim agreed.
Collins pulled out his penis and told the victim to “put it in your mouth.”
After the assault ended, Collins drove the woman halfway home. He informed her not to tell anyone about what had occurred and that he could always go back and file charges.
Woman 2: In December of 2013 or 2014, a 36-year-old woman said she was stopped by Collins while walking on Carey Avenue near the Pantry Quick store. She said Collins pulled over his marked patrol vehicle and began to interact with her.
The woman said she was concerned because she had cocaine and cash in her possession, and she knew Collins liked to “pat the girls down.”
Collins performed a pat-down on the woman and found the contraband, she said, then got into the front seat of the patrol car. Collins drove to a secluded area, the woman said, and asked her “what do you want to do?” She asked if he wanted her to perform oral sex; Collins responded by exposing himself and she did so.
When the act was finished, Collins instructed her to “keep your mouth shut or it will (expletive) you in the long run.”
The woman said she asked Collins to return her to where he had picked her up. He refused, she said, dropping her off in the area of the Murray Complex instead.
Woman 3: This 25-year-old woman said she and her family knew Collins, whom she called “Bobby.” She was never arrested by him but had contact with him on several occasions over the years.
In May 2014, she was arrested for stealing something from a Rite Aid store in Wilkes-Barre and transported to police headquarters after giving a false name to officers. While there, she said Collins came in, wearing his uniform. He told police he knew the woman and she was released.
As she was walking away from the station, the uniformed Collins approached, driving an unmarked police vehicle, and offered to give her a ride home. She said she initially declined, but after prodding by Collins agreed to get in the car.
The woman said Collins picked her up near the Social Security office on Wilkes-Barre Boulevard and drove her to the area of South Welles Street.
There, she told police, Collins began rubbing her legs and locked the car when she tried to get out. He put his hands inside her shorts, she said, then violated her with his fingers. When she said his fingernails were hurting her, he replied that she “liked it.”
She said Collins asked her to perform oral sex and pulled her hands toward his genitals. When she refused, he masturbated in front of her as she cried and closed her eyes.
“After it was over, (Collins) asked her if he should pay her and she ‘went off’ on him,” the affidavit states.
Collins warned her not to tell anyone, reminding her that he knew her family and where she lived, the woman said. She refused his offer of a ride home and walked.
Woman 4: In July 2014, this 26-year-old woman was a passenger in the back seat of a Volkswagen with two men when it was stopped by Collins near the Sherman Hills apartment complex.
The woman said Collins opened the back door and instructed her to exit. She said she told Collins she was a drug addict, and he reached into her pants and squeezed her buttocks.
Collins then began rubbing the inside of her legs, and while searching under her bra said he “likes what he feels.”
He found two bundles of heroin tucked into her genital area and one in her bra and took them, she said.
Collins then told her that in order to get out of trouble she should get in the cruiser with him, but never addressed the other two people in the Volkswagen, who then drove away.
She claims Collins told her to perform oral sex on him “and you will get out of this,” then pulled the police car into a lot behind Sherman Hills.
The woman said she cried and complied. After Collins ejaculated, he told the woman, “you’re good to go.”
The woman said she then got out and called her friends, who picked her up nearby.
Collins is being held on $125,000 bail.
According to the Wilkes-Barre police chief, Collins has been with the department since 2007. He is currently suspended with pay pending an investigation.
State police are handling the investigation with the FBI and the state attorney general’s office.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro says:
“This case is reprehensible – the perpetrator is a public official, someone who the community entrusted to protect them. My Office will prosecute sexual assault offenders to the fullest extent of the law, no matter who they are. As Attorney General, I will not allow any person in power to abuse their position – without fear or favor.”