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CASE UPDATE: AG Shapiro Announces Additional Sexual Assault Charges against Wilkes-Barre Police Officer

June 26, 2019 | Topic: Criminal

Four additional victims report that Robert Collins sexually assaulted them while on duty

HARRISBURG — Attorney General Josh Shapiro and the Pennsylvania State Police today announced additional charges against former Wilkes-Barre police officer Robert Collins after four additional victims came forward with allegations of sexual assault. Collins, 53 of Mountain Top, was charged today with five additional counts of Rape, three counts of Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse, and related charges.

“The defendant served in a position of public trust, but he is charged with abusing his power to assault and intimidate his victims,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “His victims report that he targeted them when they were at their most vulnerable and coerced them into sex acts or raped them. My Office will investigate and prosecute sexual assault offenders where we find them—without fear or favor.”

“The State Police continue to work with our law enforcement partners to seek justice, no matter where the investigation leads,” said Major Douglas Burig, Director of the State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation. “The charges today are a part of the healing process for all of the victims involved in this case.”

The defendant was initially arrested and charged in January 2019 after an investigation by Pennsylvania State Police found that he sexually assaulted four women while he was on duty and threatened them not to report the crimes. Four new victims are now reporting similar assaults that took place in Wilkes-Barre between the summer of 2006 through May 2016.

One victim reported that the defendant stopped her when she was walking down the street, confiscated her prescription Suboxone pills, and coerced her to perform oral sex on him to get them back. Another victim reported that the defendant handcuffed her, drove her to a secluded area, and raped her on two separate occasions. The defendant allegedly told her that the assaults were their “secret.” A third victim reported that the defendant stopped her and searched her and, when he found heroin, he pressured her to perform oral sex on him to avoid arrest. A fourth victim reported that the defendant pulled her over for a traffic violation, and later instructed her to perform oral sex on him with the understanding that he would make her fines go away.

The Pennsylvania State Police are leading this ongoing investigation into Collins with the assistance of the FBI Scranton Office and the Wilkes Barre City Police Department. Anyone with additional information related to this investigation should call the Pennsylvania State Police Wyoming Barracks at 570-697-2000.

“Thank you to the brave individuals who came forward,” said Attorney General Shapiro. “This investigation remains ongoing, and I urge anyone with additional information to contact the Pennsylvania State Police. We will listen to you and we will put the full weight of our Office behind fighting for justice for you.”

The defendant was arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Thomas F. Malloy Sr. and released after posting bail. Senior Deputy Attorney General Barney Anderson is prosecuting the case. All charges discussed are accusations. The defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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