WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A former Wilkes-Barre police officer charged with sex crimes against women while on duty was back in front of a judge Thursday.
Robert Collins faced a bail hearing. Prosecutors say his current bail does not fit the seriousness of the crimes he is charged with. Collins faces sex charges, including rape, in connection with eight women he allegedly forced to perform sex acts on him in exchange for not being arrested. A judge did increase his bail, but as of Thursday night, Collins remains a free man.
Robert Collins walked into the Luzerne County Courthouse Thursday morning a free man, not knowing if he would walk out the same way. He was out on $50,000, two percent bail, in connection with charges filed in June, meaning he only had to post $1,000 to walk free.
His June arrest involved four women he allegedly coerced into sex acts. But the state attorney general’s office wanted the bail set at $150,000 cash, arguing that the charges are very serious and bail should reflect the seriousness of those charges.
“The very nature of these charges, including rape, call for a higher bail. Mr. Collins faces serious jail time, possibly life behind bars. What message does the lower bail send to the public?” Deputy Pennsylvania Attorney General Barney Anderson said.
But Collins’ defense attorney Evan Hughes argued “My client poses no danger to the community and has shown up for all court hearings. He is not a flight risk.”
Judge Lupas told the court that bail cannot be used as a punishment, but did increase bail to $50,000 straight cash. Collins was able to post the new bail and walk out of the courthouse.
Collins was already out on $125,000 bail from his first arrest in January in connection with alleged sex crimes against four women. He maintains his innocence and says he will fight to clear his name.
Collins is a 15-year veteran of the Wilkes-Barre police force. During much of that time, he served as a community policing officer, meeting with neighborhood crime watch members to tell them how to stay safe.
Collins is expected to face trial by the end of the year. He will have a hearing on these second set of charges in several weeks.