Anchorage officer's sex assault trial starts

Posted: Thursday, January 27, 2011

Editor’s note: The following story contains a description of an alleged crime of a sexual nature. Readers are encouraged to use their own discretion when reading.

ANCHORAGE— The sex assault trial of Anchorage police Officer Anthony Rollin began with the first witness testifying she was attacked at a substation while wearing handcuffs.

Assistant District Attorney Brittany Dunlop called Rollins a “wolf in sheep’s clothing” who abused his position to victimize vulnerable women.

“It was exactly because of that power imbalance that most of the victims in this case thought that their cases would never be brought to justice,” she said in opening arguments Tuesday.

Defense lawyer Susan Carney disputed whether some of the sex acts ever happened and said some of them were consensual, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

“They all boil down to bad sexual behavior,” Carney said. “We’re not asking you to approve of adultery. We’re not asking you to approve of people having sexual dalliances at work. We’re not asking you to condone any dereliction of duty. But none of these things are sexual assaults.”

Rollins, 43, is a 13-year police veteran who was suspended in 2009 after he was charged with sexual assault and misconduct.

He’s accused of forcing sex acts on women from 2006 to 2009 while on duty. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

The first alleged victim to come forward cried at times as she described how she came to be in Rollins’ custody during an arrest for drunken driving.

The 25-year-old said she had been drinking before she drove to a gas station for cigarettes. She was stopped, failed field sobriety tests and was put in Rollins’ patrol car.

She was taken to a substation where Rollins used a machine to test her breath-alcohol content: at 0.159 — over the legal limit of 0.08.

After filling out paperwork, Rollins turned off a recorder, she said.

“He said, ‘Now that we’re off the record, I wanted to ask you about your tongue ring,’” she testified. “He turned me around and said, ‘Why don’t we go back in here and talk about it.’”

He kept asking her about piercings, and she told him her left nipple was pierced.

He grabbed her breast, she said. Then Rollins put his hands down her pants and started kissing her neck, she said. Still handcuffed, she backed up against a chair and the wall behind it, and Rollins pressed his body against hers, she said.

She testified he forced her into an oral sex act.

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