POLK COUNTY, FL. – Former Detention Deputy Robert Collins, 57, was arrested and booked into the Polk County Jail and charged with misuse of public office/unlawful solicitation and lewd or lascivious exhibition in the presence of an employee —both are felonies.
He was arrested yesterday, March 9, 2022, and booked into the Polk County Jail early this morning, March 10, 2022. He posted a $6,000 bond and he was released.
According to deputies, Collins resigned prior to being booked into the jail for his unlawful conduct; he would have been terminated had he not resigned. He was employed as a detention deputy for approximately 11 ½ years, hired as a detention deputy trainee in August of 2010.
Polk County Sheriff’s Office detectives began investigating after an inmate complained to another detention deputy that she had been victimized.
The inmate said she was approached by Collins in a sexually suggestive way and he coerced her, based on his position of authority as a detention deputy, into pulling up her top, revealing her breasts, displaying and manipulating her genitalia at his request, and briefly touching his clothed penis (over his pants) at his request.
She told deputies that this was against her will, and she was afraid to say no because she was due to be released soon. She told deputies that she did not believe she had a choice.
Deputies interviewed Collins who initially denied the inmate’s allegations. Once confronted with the specific allegations, he admitted that he repeatedly approached the victim’s bed while her breasts were exposed, approached her bed multiple times while she was manipulating and exposing her genitalia and that the victim touched his penis over his clothing. When asked if he requested the victim expose her breasts and vagina and touch his penis he stated “I don’t know, it’s possible.”
“I thank our victim for coming forward and reporting this reprehensible behavior. We are just not going to put up with this kind of abuse from someone the public trusts to keep our inmates safely housed while they are incarcerated. His behavior was repulsive, he betrayed our trust, and we are holding him accountable,” said Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd.