Witnesses describe lewd scene in Rollins case
Defense argues women are ‘exaggerating’
— Cecil County State’s Attorney Ellis Rollins III suggestively danced naked and masturbated directly in front of the sliding glass door of his highrise Ocean City hotel on several occasions during a two- day period in June, according to the testimony of four women who maintain they saw him from
their adjacent hotel.
Those four witnesses contend that Rollins intentionally exhibited himself to them, appearing at his sliding glass door within minutes after they would enter the balcony of their hotel some 175 feet away, and they allege he made eye contact with them numerous times.
Moreover, two of those women testified that they saw Rollins and his wife, Holly, engage in sexual intercourse in front of that sliding glass door of their 10th-floor room at the Clarion Resort Fountainebleau Hotel at 10100 Coastal Highway in Ocean City.
The four Pennsylvania women testified as state witnesses on Thursday — the first day of a Worcester County Circuit Court jury trial for Rollins, who is charged with two counts each of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct stemming from the incidents on June 21 and June 22.
Prosecutors rested their case against Rollins early Thursday night, after calling the four women, a hotel security manager and the two Ocean City Police Department officers who investigated the complaint that led to Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau H. Oglesby filing criminal charges against Rollins five days later.
The defense is scheduled to start presenting its case on Friday morning. Rollins is represented by Ocean City-based lawyer Cullen Burke.
Karen Lynn, of Harrisburg, Pa., testified Thursday that her sister, Lisa Smith, also of Harrisburg, and two of their friends witnessed Rollins dance naked — using a cellphone as a prop and pantomiming “humping” the couch at one point — and masturbate while they were trying to enjoy the beach view from their 12th-floor room at their adjacent Atlantis Condominium.
The women were in Ocean City that week for their annual “girls weekend” while Rollins was there for a Maryland State’s Attorneys Association
convention, which ran from June 20 through noon June 22, some four hours before police arrested Rollins at the hotel and later released him.
From their balcony, Lynn and Smith saw Rollins nude inside his room in the early afternoon of June 21, but they found it amusing because they concluded Rollins had just come out of the shower naked and was unaware he could be seen, according to their testimony.
“We thought it was a pure, honest mistake,” Smith testified.
However, moments later, Rollins “started coming closer to the window and performed some kind of dance,” one in which he bent over to show his bare rear end, squatted and performed other moves, the women testified.
Then Rollins “opened up the screen door, so there was only glass between us and him,” and, as a result, they could see his penis, according to the sisters, who had come to the hotel a day earlier than their two friends, who witnessed only the June 22 incidents.
“I was like, ‘What the hell is going on? He was looking right up at us. He made eye contact several times,’” Lynn testified.
Lynn testified that Rol-
lins moved “right up to the edge of the slider door and was masturbating,” prompting them to call the Clarion hotel to complain. The episode they witnessed lasted approximately 15 minutes, according to Lynn.
About 30 minutes later, the second episode occurred and played out in similar fashion, according to the sisters, who estimated that Rollins appeared at his sliding glass door “within five minutes” after they had returned to their balcony area.
Rollins later had sex with his wife in front of the sliding glass door that afternoon, and more incidents of Rollins dancing naked and masturbating occurred during the daylight hours
of June 22, according to the women.
In addition to calling at least one complaint to hotel management on the phone, Lynn, using a camera with a zoom lens, took photos of Rollins during his episodes for proof, according to the women’s testimony.
A hotel security manager called police on the afternoon of June 22 after going to the women’s room and observing Rollins returning to the sliding glass door and masturbating within moments after she arrived to investigate, that employee testified.
The defense isn’t disputing that Rollins engaged in the activities alleged by the women.
But during his opening statements and through his cross-examination of state witnesses, Rollins’ attorney, Cullen M. Burke, contended that they happened in the privacy of Rollins’ hotel room — not in public, specifically on his balcony, as was erroneously reported at the outset, according to Burke.
Burke also is maintaining that the women would not have been able to look Rollins in the eyes, or vice versa, from their respective van-
tage points some 175 feet away. He also is questioning how much detail that women could have seen, without the aid of a zoom-lens camera.
“He wasn’t watching them; they were watching him,” Burke insisted at one point Thursday, after expressing his disbelief that the women were able to zero in on Rollins’ amid the all the others on that side of the sprawling Clarion hotel.
Burke also is maintaining that Rollins was farther away from the sliding glass door and that the women are “exaggerating.”
Kurt Vaughn reacts as his device hovers in between the two blue lines on the wind tunnel during a recent session at the Perryville Middle School Makerspace.