Thursday, February 16, 2017

Still Newlyweds: Exposed Prosecutor Resigns

The Baltimore Sun reports on the resignation of a prosecutor convicted of indecent exposure.

Cecil County's top prosecutor resigned this week before being sentenced on charges stemming from a trip to Ocean City last June.

Edward D. Rollins, III, 61, the state's attorney for Cecil County, received 18 months of unsupervised probation on Tuesday, after a Worcester County jury found him guilty of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct in December, according to court records.

Police officers were called about 4 p.m. on June 22 to the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel after receiving reports of a nude man on a balcony. Officers went to the room, which was Rollins,' and took him into custody. He was later charged with two counts of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.

Rollins' attorney, Cullen Burke, who called Rollins "an excellent lawyer" and "pillar of his community, said the sentence was reasonable.

The Washington Post also covered the trial and had the details earlier this week

It’s Valentine’s Day, and the top prosecutor in Cecil County, Md., having already celebrated his love with his wife in full view of numerous others, will stand before a judge today and receive a criminal sentence for such public displays of affection.

Edward “Ellis” Rollins III (R) was arrested in June for indecent exposure and disorderly conduct, for having sex, standing naked and other related acts at the sliding glass door of his tenth-floor Ocean City, Md., hotel room, while four tourists, a security officer and two Ocean City police officers watched. He was convicted by a Worcester County, Md., jury after a two-day trial in December...

Rollins did not return phone and email messages Monday, and his attorney, Cullen Burke, also did not return a call. At trial, Rollins did not testify, but his lawyer did not deny that Rollins and his wife enjoyed various carnal relations next to the sliding glass door of their hotel room. Burke described Rollins and his wife, Holly Rollins, as “still newlyweds” after six years of marriage, according to the Cecil Whig, and Holly Rollins testified she had no idea anyone was watching from the adjacent condominiums. Burke said there was 172 feet between the two buildings and that the Rollins’ hotel room “was a speck” in the vision of the tourists’ apartment.

But the four Pennsylvania women who spotted the activity, on two different days, felt it was much more visible than a speck. They returned to Ocean City and testified in detail about Rollins’ actions. It really wasn’t the sex so much as Rollins’ naked dancing and posing at the sliding glass door that truly offended the visitors, according to the media reports of their testimony. “You’re just sickening,” one woman turned and said to Rollins during her testimony. “I have nightmares because of you. I argue with my husband because it’s all I can talk about.”

Rollins and his wife were staying at the Clarion Resort Fontainebleau Hotel, near 100th Street and Coastal Highway, where Rollins was attending the summer conference of the Maryland State’s Attorneys’ Association. Adjacent to the Clarion is another high rise, the Atlantis, a condominium rental. The weirdness began on June 21, when Karen Lynn and Lisa Smith, staying in the Atlantis, saw a naked man across from them in the Clarion, dancing at the sliding glass door to his balcony, squatting, posing, and masturbating, which prompted them to call Clarion security, the Cecil Whig reported.

“I was like, ‘What the hell is going on?’,” Lynn, of Harrisburg, Pa., testified. “He was looking right up at us. He made eye contact several times.” She said Rollins then had sex with his wife next to the sliding glass door.

When the same action happened the next day, with Rollins seemingly appearing whenever the women at the Atlantis stood by their own glass window, Lynn used a zoom lens to take photos of Rollins naked. Then the Pennsylvania women called their condo office and the head of Atlantis security, Michelle Jones, testified that she saw Rollins masturbating in full view shortly after she arrived at the women’s room. The Whig reported that Jones couldn’t see Rollins at first, but that after she waited by the window, Rollins appeared wearing only a towel, then dropped the towel and began posing and masturbating.

Jones called the police. Officers arrived, testified that they saw Rollins naked, and arrested him. Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby visited the scene, interviewed the women and then charged his prosecutorial colleague with two counts of indecent exposure and two counts of disorderly conduct. Oglesby and his top deputy personally tried the case in December, and Oglesby told the jury that the women’s photos of Rollins corroborated their story of his naked dancing and masturbating.

Burke argued that the acts occurred in the privacy of Rollins’ hotel room, not in the women’s presence, and that “for them to claim they made eye contact from that distance is just not believable.”

Oglesby responded that he attends Washington Capitals’ hockey games and watches goals scored from the cheap seats more than 172 feet away. “Each woman was visibly shaken by the entire ordeal and the recounting of it,” Oglesby told the jury, according to reporting by The Whig’s Carl Hamilton.

After four hours, the jury acquitted Rollins of the two charges from the first day of alleged misconduct, and convicted him of the charges for the second day of action. Rollins had told The Whig last June that he had been charged “based on one side of the story” and that Oglesby had not heard his side. “I am confident when that happens, my name will be cleared.”

I read a sampling of the comments to the Post article. My unscientific review suggested a strong anti-prosecution and pro-defendant bent. (Mike Frisch)

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