West New York man charged with attacking & sexually assaulting woman at Newark Airport


A West New York man was charged with attacking and sexually assaulting a woman at Newark Airport earlier this month, Union County Prosecutor William Daniel and Port Authority Chief Security Officer Greg Ehrie jointly announced.

Thomassal Watkins. Photo courtesy of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

Thomassal Watkins, 40, West New York, is charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault, second-degree sexual assault, third-degree aggravated assault and fourth-degree criminal sexual contact, authorities said.

Port Authority police officers responded to the Conrac Parking Garage, connected to Newark Airport’s Terminal A, shortly after 9 p.m. on January 19th.

They were on the scene after a woman reported being sexually assaulted minutes earlier by an unknown man as she was walking to her car, according to Union County Assistant Prosecutor Caroline Lawlor, who is prosecuting the case.

The responding officers were able to quickly locate and apprehend Watkins on airport property.

An joint investigation led by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit and the Port Authority Police Department, with the assistance of the Union County Sheriff’s Department Crime Scene unit, resulted in the identification of Watkins as the suspect and collection of significant evidence.

“We are grateful for the extraordinary collaboration with our local law enforcement partners and for the exemplary police work of the Port Authority Police Department, which led to the identification and apprehension of Watkins within minutes of the attack”, Daniel said in a statement.

“We appreciate the swift response from our partners at the Union County Prosecutor’s and Sheriff’s Offices, and commend our Port Authority police officers for the exceptional work that led to the apprehension of the suspect,” added Port Authority Police Superintendent Ed Cetnar.

Anyone with information about this matter is still urged to contact  UCPO Detective Claudia Diez at 908-965-3779 or Port Authority Police Department Detective Amos Shand at 973-961-6308.

Convictions for crimes of this nature are commonly punishable by terms of up to 20 years in state prison.

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