Man charged with sexually assaulting woman on Ben Franklin Bridge

Joseph Haskins could face charges in a second assault.
Joseph Haskins could face charges in a second assault.
Posted: July 22, 2011

A Blackwood man has been arrested in the sexual assaulting of a jogger on the Ben Franklin Bridge on Monday, and could be charged in another incident involving a bridge pedestrian, according to the Camden County Prosecutor's Office.

Joseph Haskins, 47, of Blackwood, was apprehended by Delaware River Port Authority police Wednesday after he allegedly groped a second woman.

Monday's attack occurred about 4:30 p.m. as the woman ran on the walkway, which is above the span's roadway, according to the Prosecutor's Office.

After she was sexually assaulted on the Camden side of the bridge, she went to the Philadelphia side and was taken by friends to Episcopal Hospital. Philadelphia police referred the case to Camden police, according to Jason Laughlin, spokesman for the Prosecutor's Office.

The woman later identified Haskins as her attacker, according to a news release from Camden County Prosecutor Warren W. Faulk and Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson.

Law enforcement officials received a call Wednesday in reference to a man groping another woman on the walkway about 7 a.m., according to the release.

That woman kept moving and was able to prevent a larger assault, authorities say. Officials are asking the woman, who was not identified, to come forward.

Laughlin referred questions about police staffing of the bridge walkway to the DRPA.

"We do have a regularly assigned officer assigned to the walkway" during the hours when it is open to the public, said DRPA spokesman Ed Kasuba. "I can't tell you exactly where he was at that time."

In addition, Kasuba said, "there are police cars patrolling the bridge all the time."

Haskins is being held on $200,000 bail. He is charged with sex assault in connection with the first attack. He could not be charged in connection with the second unless the victim came forward.

Haskins, who is 5-foot-11 and weighs 184 pounds, was sentenced in 2007 for criminal sexual conduct and assault, according to New Jersey Department of Corrections records. He was imprisoned in December 2007 and released in January 2010.

The Prosecutor's Office has asked that anyone with information about similar incidents contact Investigator Carlos Plaza at 856-225-8400.


Contact staff writer Paul Nussbaum at 215-854-4587 or pnussbaum@phillynews.com.

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