HARRISBURG – Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Tuesday that following an extensive investigation by Pennsylvania State Police, Wilkes-Barre police officer Robert Collins was arrested and charged with three counts of rape, two counts of aggravated indecent assault, four counts of witness intimidation, false imprisonment and related charges.
Collins, 53, of the unit block of Powell Street, Mountain Top, Luzerne County, was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting four women while he was on duty, in uniform, and operating a marked or unmarked police vehicle. In all four cases, Collins threatened the women not to report the crimes.
“This case is reprehensible – the perpetrator is a public official, someone who the community entrusted to protect them,” Attorney General Josh Shapiro said. “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.”
All four assaults allegedly occurred in the city of Wilkes-Barre between August 2013 and December 2014. In three cases, Collins searched the female victim after a vehicle stop or street encounter, finding small amounts of controlled substances and/or drug paraphernalia. In each of these three cases, after the search Collins placed the woman in his police car and forced her to perform oral sex upon him by threatening arrest or other negative police action. Collins then released the women without any further investigation or contact. In the fourth case, Collins encountered a young woman walking, compelled her to get into his police car and locked the doors. Collins then sexually assaulted her by digitally penetrating her.
This case is being investigated by the Pennsylvania State Police, with the assistance of the FBI Scranton Office, and the Wilkes Barre City Police Department. Anyone with additional information to report related to this investigation is asked to call the Pennsylvania State Police Wyoming Barracks at 570-697-2000.
Collins was taken to the PSP Wyoming Barracks for processing and will be arraigned before Magisterial District Judge Thomas Malloy of Luzerne County. The case will be prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Barney Anderson.