Rollins trial set for Dec. 8
— Cecil County State’s Attorney Ellis Rollins III will have to wait until Dec. 8 for his jury trial in a criminal case in which he is charged with two counts each of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct — two months later than the original date, according to court records.
Rollins’ trial had been set to start on Oct. 11 in Worcester County Circuit Court but, a few days before that date, presiding Judge Brian D. Shockley postponed the proceeding due to a “family emergency with the court,” which court officials declined to specify.
The new date for Rollins’ trial, Dec. 8, was posted on the Maryland Judiciary Case Search website Wednesday.
Rollins, who, like all criminal defendants, is presumed innocent until proven guilty, continues to serve as state’s attorney — but only in an administrative capacity. By his own decision, Rollins hasn’t prosecuted cases in the courtroom since his arrest in June.
He is charged with two counts each of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct relating to two separate incidents, one each on June 21 and 22, while he and his wife, Holly, were staying at
the Clarion Resort Fountainebleau Hotel at 10100 Coastal Highway in Ocean City.
Rollins, 60, was there for a Maryland State’s Attorney’s Association conference, which started on June 20 and ended at noon on June 22, some four hours before his arrest.
Lindsay Richard, spokeswoman for the Ocean City Police Department, reported at the time that officers were called to the Clarion Hotel at 4 p.m. June 22 after receiving a report of a “nude male on a balcony.”
Officers located the room in question and took Rollins into custody on suspicion of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct, Richard said, adding that he was later released on personal recognizance without charges.
Police referred the case to the Worcester County State’s Attorney’s Office for review and five days later — after a Salisbury-based internet blogger dug into a tip on the story and published a blurry photo of a nude man — Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau H. Oglesby announced that he had filed four misdemeanor charges against Rollins by way of a “criminal information,” which, typical of such a document, contains scant details.
“After consultation with the Ocean City Police Department, two counts of indecent exposure and two counts of disorderly conduct have been filed,” Oglesby said in a prepared statement. “After carefully considering which course of action would be the most appropriate given the need to handle this matter with transparency balanced against the desire to shield the identity of the victims, filing a criminal information achieved both goals.”
Oglesby has declined further comment.
Rollins, who is represented by Ocean City-based defense lawyer Cullen M. Burke, has maintained his innocence.
After learning that he had been charged, Rollins contacted the Whig and commented “(Oglesby) decided based on one side of the story. He has not heard my side of the story. I am confident when that happens, my name will be cleared.”
On June 26, four days after Rollins’ arrest and a day before the charges against him were announced, Rollins’ wife, Holly, issued a written statement to the Cecil Whig in which she maintains that someone had spied on them.
“While my husband and I were vacationing in Ocean City last week (June 20 through June 22), a stranger watched and photographed us through the window of our 10th floor hotel room. The person who took these actions was in a separate hotel some distance from ours. During the next 24 hours, while completely within the confines of our room, our intimate movements and activities were documented and shared publicly,” her statement reads.
The defense contends in written pretrial motions that the complainants were more than half a football field away and that it would have taken a voyeuristic effort to see Rollins. The defense also maintains that Rollins was inside his rented hotel room at all times.
According to court records, the list of state witnesses subpoenaed for trial include four women who reside at different addresses in Harrisburg, Pa.; a woman who lives in Snow Hill; a sergeant and two officers with the Ocean City Police Department officers and a Clarion Hotel employee.
Cecil County State’s Attorney Ellis Rollins III must wait until Dec. 8 for his rescheduled Worcester County Circuit Court trial, in which he is charged with two counts each of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct. Rollins was scheduled to stand trial Oct. 11, but it was postponed.