Former Prosecutor Avoids Jail For Indecent Exposure

Former Prosecutor Avoids Jail For Indecent Exposure

SNOW HILL — A Cecil County prosecutor convicted in December on indecent exposure and disorderly conduct stemming from an incident at an uptown Ocean City hotel last June will not go to jail for his actions, but the convictions ultimately cost him his job.

In December, Cecil County State’s Attorney Edward “Ellis” Rollins III, 61, of Northeast, was found guilty of one count each of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct following an incident last June during which he exposed himself and conducted other lewd acts while standing naked at the sliding glass door of a 10th floor room at an uptown Ocean City hotel in full view of several women in an adjacent hotel and possibly several others.

Back in court in Snow Hill on Tuesday, Rollins was sentenced to 90 days for the indecent exposure conviction and 60 days for the disorderly conduct conviction, all of which was then suspended. Judge Brian Shockley then sentenced Rollins to 18 months of supervised probation and a $1,000 fine. He was also required to undergo a mental health evaluation as directed by the Department of Parole and Probation and was ordered to have no direct or indirect contact with the victims in the case along with 100 hours of community service.

While he did not get any jail time for the two convictions, the June incidents cost Rollins his job as Cecil County’s top prosecutor. On Monday, one day before he was scheduled to appear for sentencing, Rollins submitted his resignation as State’s Attorney for Cecil County. Rollins was considered among the front-runners for a Cecil County Circuit Court judgeship vacancy but withdrew his name from consideration following last summer’s incidents.

According to the Ocean City Police Department (OCPD), officers responded to the Clarion Resort Fountainbleau around 4 p.m. for a report of a nude male on a balcony. OCPD officers located the room in question and took Rollins into custody for indecent exposure and disorderly conduct.

According to court documents, Rollins “did indecently expose his person in a public place in the area between the Atlantic condominiums and the Clarion Resort Fountainebleau Hotel” on June 21 and again on June 22. About five days later, Worcester County State’s Attorney Beau Oglesby filed criminal information charging Rollins with two counts each of indecent exposure and disorderly conduct after consulting with the OCPD and witnesses. Rollins was in Ocean City at the time for the Maryland State’s Attorney’s Association Conference.

At Tuesday’s sentencing, Oglesby asked Shockley to impose a sentence of two years, suspending all but six months to be served at the Worcester County Jail. However, defense attorney Cullen Burke argued Rollins had lost his job as a result of the convictions and had become a pariah of sorts in his home jurisdiction where he had essentially ceased working and confined himself to his residence following the incidents.

While Oglesby actively sought jail time for Rollins, he said on Wednesday he was satisfied with the judge’s decision and hoped it would send a message similar behavior would not be tolerated in Worcester.

“I believe the criminal conduct of the defendant warrants a sanction that includes a period of incarceration,” he said. “However, I respect the decision and sentence imposed by Judge Shockley. It is my hope that the prosecution of this case will serve as a reminder to both residents and visitors of Worcester County that actions have consequences and that applies to everyone.”

During the sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Oglesby read into the record victim impact statements from the various female victims.

“The events at the beach and Mr. Rollins’ actions are unacceptable and frankly haunting,” read one victim’s statement. “The luxury of a vacation is not something I get to enjoy each year. After working and scraping by to have it stolen from me by this man’s obscene and perverse actions are extremely upsetting.”

Another victim said she was still scarred emotionally from the incidents last June.

“Even up to this day, Mr. Edward Rollins makes me emotionally ill,” she said. “He may not have physically touched me, but he mentally touched and sexually violated me and my friends. It was obvious to me that he was enjoying the fact that he was disgusting us and causing a negative reaction from us. Mr. Rollins’ disturbing action will stay with me for the rest of my life.”

In her statement, another victim said she had seen much in her employment, but even working at the jail did not prepare her for how she felt after witnessing such blatant, filthy acts.

“He exposed himself to every other room in his line of sight, the parking lots and the crowded beach,” she said. “Not to mention our hotel swimming pool filled with children. Even though we were not physically attacked, this incident has emotionally, mentally and physically affected myself and my friends.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.