Berlin Twp. chief quits amid harassment charges

Posted: May 16, 2013

A South Jersey police chief charged this year with harassing a female civilian employee has resigned.

Joseph Jackson's letter to Berlin Township said that he was retiring and that his resignation was effective immediately, the township attorney, Stuart Platt, said Tuesday. The township received the letter Friday.

Jackson, a 24-year veteran of the force and chief of the 16-officer department since 2009, was suspended with pay in September when the allegations surfaced.

The employee accused Jackson of harassing her between April 2010 and July 2012, the Camden County Prosecutor's Office said in January. Interactions included "touching, rubbing, and hugs" that continued after the employee "indicated this behavior made her uncomfortable."

In January, Jason Laughlin, a spokesman for the Prosecutor's Office, said "there was a clear conversation" between the chief and the woman in which she said she was uncomfortable with Jackson's alleged actions.

On July 16, Jackson allegedly "hugged the female employee and lifted her off the ground, causing discomfort and annoyance," the Prosecutor's Office said.

Jackson, of West Berlin, was charged with two counts of harassment and simple assault, which are disorderly persons offenses.

Louis Barbone, listed as Jackson's attorney in January, could not be reached Tuesday. Jackson could not be reached at his home.

According to a township council resolution, Jackson was suspended after two female employees accused him of harassment. One was the woman whose complaint resulted in criminal charges. She notified a police officer, who contacted the prosecutor. The charges against Jackson did not involve allegations by the second employee.

Jackson made $108,742 a year as police chief and township emergency management coordinator, the township said.

Leonard Check, a lieutenant, has been acting chief since Jackson's suspension, Platt said. A search will be conducted for a replacement.


Contact Darran Simon at 856-779-3829 or at dsimon@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @darransimon.

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