Scranton, Pa

Grand Jury Fails to Indict Former Carlisle Police Detective for Sex Trafficking and Sexual Assault

Posted: February 3, 2020

On January 22, 2020, a federal grand jury indicted a former Carlisle, Pennsylvania police detective and FBI task force officer with bribery, drug distribution, fraud, and making false statements. The indictment alleges that between 2011 and 2018, Christopher Collare, 52, of Blythewood, South Carolina, defrauded the Borough of Carlisle and the Cumberland County Drug Task Force by providing informants with drugs. Collare is also accused of lying during the process of becoming an FBI task force officer. However, while the facts set forth in the indictment clearly illustrates that the detective used his official capacity to obtain sex from two women in exchange for agreeing to take actions in prosecutions, the grand jury failed to indict him for sex trafficking. Instead, the indictment charges Collare’s coercion of women into sex acts in exchange for ensuring lessened criminal charges for their loved ones as accepting “bribes” and defrauding the county.

According to the indictment, following years of Collare purchasing sex from a prostituted woman, Jane Doe, Collare executed a search of Jane Doe’s boyfriend’s residence, where he seized controlled substances. Jane Doe’s boyfriend was subsequently charged with possession with intent to deliver. Collare is alleged to have obtained sex from Jane Doe in June and August of 2015 in exchange for his not appearing at her boyfriend’s hearing, which led to a dismissal of the charges. Then, on December 2, 2017, Collare arrested another man for delivering narcotics and unlawful gun possession. Collare then allegedly recruited this person’s girlfriend, Mary Doe, as a confidential informant. He is alleged to have solicited Mary Doe through informing her that if she “helped” Collare by performing sex acts, he would reduce her boyfriend’s potential sentence. Collare reminded Mary Doe of her ability to “help” by placing her hand on his penis. [It is vital to note that this action also constitutes sexual assault] . Mary Doe complied, and her boyfriend subsequently entered a plea deal and was sentenced to the state intermediate punishment program.

These allegations against Collare fit squarely within the definition of sex trafficking. Under the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, sex trafficking is accomplished through the act of recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, obtaining, patronizing, or soliciting of a person, through means of force, fraud, or coercion, for the purpose of a commercial sex act. The act in this case was Collare obtaining and soliciting sex from Jane and Mary Doe. The means in this case was coercion, which is defined as “(A) threats of serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; (B) any scheme, plan, or pattern intended to cause a person to believe that failure to perform an act would result in serious harm to or physical restraint against any person; or (C) the abuse or threatened abuse of the legal process.” Here, Collare’s coercion of the victims was accomplished through both the threatened physical confinement of their significant others as well as threatened abuse of the legal process against their boyfriends. The power imbalance inherent in Collare’s status as a police detective strengthened the reality of these threats.  Likewise, the purpose here was a commercial sex act, which is any sex act on account of which anything of value is given to or received by any person. Here, the respective dismissal and lessening of the criminal charges and sentences against Jane and Mary Doe’s partners were of value to the women.

Unfortunately, the allegations of abuse of power set forth in the indictment are common. The CSE Institute has frequently reported on similar situations, wherein police officers wield their official capacity to sexually exploit the people they are entrusted to protect. In such instances, the U.S. Attorney’s Office should hold law enforcement accountable while avoiding charges that criminalize their victims. The indictment of Collare mischaracterizes his manipulating his official capacity to force women into performing sex act as “accepting bribes” in a “scheme to defraud the county.” Labelling coerced sex as “bribery” tends to shift the blame from Collare to his victims. Mary and Jane Doe did not willingly offer sex acts as payment for help. Instead, these sex acts were compelled by someone in a position of power who conditioned his assistance of their loved ones on the receipt of these acts.

The CSE Institute urges federal prosecutors to utilize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in their cases when appropriate. The danger of ignoring the trafficking statute is exemplified by the media’s response to this story. Headlines such as “Grand jury: Former Carlisle detective distributed heroin, used job to obtain sex” and “Former Carlisle Police detective federally indicted for bribery and drug distribution, among other offenses” distort the reality of this case. Collare did not merely give-out heroin, accept bribes, and “stumble-upon” sex through acting in his official capacity. The facts alleged in the indictment describe Collare as targeting vulnerable women and utilizing his job as a weapon to coerce sex. The facts set-forth in the complaint allege that Collare is a sex trafficker. He should thus be prosecuted as one.

Category: News

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