Pennsylvania officer charged with sexually assaulting four women

A Pennsylvania police officer faces a bevy of charges amid allegations he sexually assaulted four women while in uniform in 2013 and 2014.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro's (D) office announced Tuesday night that Wilkes-Barre police officer Robert Collins, 53, was arrested and charged with three counts of rape, two counts of aggravated indecent assault, four counts of witness intimidation, false imprisonment and other charges.

The alleged assaults took place in the city of Wilkes-Barre between August 2013 and December 2014, the attorney general's office said. In three instances, Collins allegedly forced the women to perform oral sex on him after he found them to be carrying small amounts of drugs during traffic stops.

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In the fourth case, Collins allegedly compelled a young woman walking to get into his police car. He then locked the doors and sexually assaulted her, the attorney general's office said.

Collins let each woman go without threatening arrest or additional action, the attorney general's office said.

“This case is reprehensible — the perpetrator is a public official, someone who the community entrusted to protect them,” Shapiro said in a statement. “My Office will prosecute sexual assault offenders to the fullest extent of the law, no matter who they are.”

"Obviously we are disappointed with the allegations and have offered our continued full cooperation with the investigating agency,"  Wilkes-Barre Police Chief Joseph Coffay told The Hill on Wednesday.

"With his due process in mind he is suspended with pay until an internal investigation can be completed," he added.

Collins said during a court appearance Tuesday that he plans on "answering these charges, and fighting them vigorously,” according to The Times Leader in Wilkes-Barre.

Updated at 12:56 p.m.