WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Pennsylvania State Police have arrested a Wilkes-Barre police officer and are charging him with sexually assaulting four female victims over a 16-month period.
Investigators believe Robert Collins, 53, of Mountain Top, sexually assaulted the victims while he was on duty and performing his function as a police officer, reported WNEP.
The crimes occurred between August 2013 and December 2014, according to State Police.
Collins was charged with rape, indecent assault, and official oppression. Moreover, he was arraigned on felony charges Tuesday night.
Collins remained silent as he was led away from his arraignment in Forty Fort and taken to the Luzerne County Jail.
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Women interviewed by WNEP were alarmed.
“When you hear something like this in your community, as a woman, it makes you fearful, when you trust somebody in that type of capacity,” said Abigail Borovich of Plains Township.
“I have a young daughter, and I try to teach her that police are here to protect us and to keep us safe, so to hear something like that makes me really scared,” said Zanitta Davidson of Jenkins Township.
Investigators say Collins used coercion and his authority as a police officer to force the women to perform sex acts with him. Furthermore, he reportedly threatened physical harm if they told anyone about the encounters.
This is the second police officer in Luzerne County to be accused of using their position in law enforcement to violate women.
Last month, former Ashley police officer Mark Icker was charged after three women came forward saying he had pulled them over but told them they would not get a ticket in exchange for oral sex.
“When you do something to overstep your power as a police officer, then it diminishes all the other police as well and everybody within that force,” said Borovich.
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.