by Rhonda McBride
11:52 PM AKST, March 6, 2012
Snow removal and the city budget: issues you would expect to hear about in the Anchorage Mayoral race.
But now Anthony Rollins, a disgraced police officer, has become a part of the debate.
Documents filed in court last week offer more details about the Anchorage Police Department’s handling of Rollins, who was convicted last year of coercing women to have sex while he was on the job. Many of those raped were intoxicated and in police custody.
The records are part of a lawsuit filed by Christine Schleuss, who represents five of the women who were victimized by Rollins.
Schleuss has been fighting the city to obtain records of the Department’s internal investigation into Rollins – and included some of the documents received so far, with requests for what’s missing.
“All I have is these little pieces,” says Schleuss. “There will be two or three pieces from one incomplete report. I want the rest.”
Some of the pieces involve Paul Honeman, a former police lieutenant and a candidate for Mayor.
The court records reveal that the Department was looking into Rollins behavior as far back as 2001 – and that Honeman had helped to investigate suspicions that the officer was having affairs and oral sex while on duty.
Schleuss says there’s a draft report of an incident in August, 2005 in which Honeman walked into APD’s public affairs office and “discovered a surprised Officer Rollins lying over a desk. Although unable to verify it, Honeman believed there was a female under the desk.”
Another report said Honeman did not confront Rollins at the time.
The court filings also include numerous complaints against Rollins involving officers besides Honeman, including an elaborate surveillance effort conducted with help from the FBI. The Department even assigned a marked police car to Rollins with a GPS tracking device, to gather evidence against him.
Schleuss says two of her clients were raped after 2008, the year there was a draft search warrant in police files, in which numerous complaints against Rollins of a sexual nature were listed. A sergeant wrote that they “suggest a pattern of behavior which poses a risk to the public.”
After the details of the filings were made public in the Anchorage Daily News story on Saturday, Honeman came under attack for not taking action against Rollins on at least one radio talk show.
On Tuesday, Honeman held a news conference to refute the allegations. He played about twenty seconds from a KFQD program recorded on Monday, in which radio host Casey Reynolds refers to the Public Affairs office incident.
“I guess Mr. Honeman wasn’t caught with his pants down, but he caught another guy with his pants down. That guy happened to be raping and abusing women, and Mr. Honeman turned around and walked away and apparently didn’t do anything about it,” Reynolds said on his show.
Honeman says Reynolds was implying that a rape was in progress, and that he did nothing to stop it – a smear tactic Honeman says Reynolds was using to help Mayor Dan Sullivan get re-elected.
“This is gutter politics,” said Honeman. “It is unfortunately absolutely predictable that this kind of stuff happens in the last weeks of the election. His cronies on talk radio are spreading lies and innuendo that are inaccurate and slanderous.”
Honeman says he’s considering suing Reynolds and KFQD.
“I’m connecting the dots,” said Honeman. “My dots are that Casey Reynolds was the transition manager for Mayor Dan Sullivan, the former spokesperson for the Republican Party of Alaska -- and that he clearly and repeatedly states his undying support for the Mayor.”
Sullivan says Honeman is overreacting.
“Let’s face it. The radio hosts all have their own faces, their own voices,” said Sullivan. “You can go on the Shannyn Moore show and hear nothing but negative things about me. There’s absolutely no connection between my campaign and any of the radio stations.”
“Quite frankly,” said Sullivan, “Mr. Honeman’s allegations are a little bit silly.”
But Honeman says he takes it very seriously that the public hasn’t been told the whole story about why he didn’t immediately confront Rollins, when he opened the door to the Public Affairs office and found him acting strangely.
Honeman says he had two women with him – his wife and her friend, who he was taking on a tour of the police station. He said Rollins was spread over the desk as if to hide someone underneath, and although he suspected that Rollins was having sex with someone, his first priority was to escort the women out of the building.
Honeman says he returned to find Rollins gone and no one else in the room, but continued to pursue the matter.
“The fact is, I did my duty and reported this incident to the highest levels of the APD,” said Honeman.
Lt. Dave Parker, a spokesmen for APD, says the Department can't confirm this happened, because the case is still under litigation.
But since the city has yet to turn over the documents requested by the plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit, there’s no public record of what transpired after Honeman reported the incident. Honeman said he made verbal reports to then Deputy Chiefs Rob Huen and Audie Holloway.
“I hope I will get that record from the Anchorage Police Department. It’s one of the things that I’ve demanded,” said Schleuss. “The first of these cases is going to trial in early August. I can’t continue to hope the muni will comply with the discovery requirements.”
City Attorney Dennis Wheeler says the city is working to turn over documents, but it will take time, because names, birth dates and social security numbers will have to be blacked out.
“We have an obligation to protect the privacy rights of the victims, the victims’ relatives,” said Wheeler, who estimates that there are about 200 files of material yet to be reviewed.
During his news conference on Tuesday, Honeman said he believes Reynolds had been given advance warning about last week’s release of police records, because the talk show host had filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the Municipal Attorney’s office, requesting material in the Rollins’ case.
Wheeler acknowledged the request, but said the city has not yet responded to it.
Reynolds says the content from his talk show came from the newspaper report, and that he had no inside information about what the police records contain.
In the meantime, Christine Schleuss says she will continue to fight for more records, which she's been after since September. The attorney says her next step will be to start deposing officers.
“All I’m doing is representing five women,” says Schleuss, “women who have waited long enough for justice.”
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