✈️ 'Jane Doe' was followed walking to her car parked in Newark Airport's Terminal A

✈️ Thomassal Watkins was charged with sexually assaulting her in Jan. 2023

✈️ A lawsuit says Port Authority security negligence allowed the assault

NEWARK – A woman who was sexually assaulted in the parking deck of the new Terminal A at Newark Liberty Airport filed a lawsuit against the Port Authority blaming a lapse in security.

Thomassal Watkins, 40, of West New York, was charged with sexual assault in the January 2023 attack on the woman as she walked to her car parked inside the Consolidated Parking and Rental Car Building (CONRAC) parking garage at Terminal A according the the Union County Prosecutor's Office. The garage had opened to the public six days before the attack.

According to the lawsuit filed in Superior Court in Newark by a woman identified as "Jane Doe," she was walking across a bridge connecting the terminal and garage just before 9 p.m. when she heard footsteps behind her as she approached her car. When she turned around, Watkins "violently struck" Doe several times and sexually assaulted her, the complaint says.

Thomassal Watkins. (Union County Prosecutor's Office)
Thomassal Watkins. (Union County Prosecutor's Office)

Odd behavior before the attack

Watkins was loitering in the garage for at least 45 minutes unnoticed by security without any luggage that a traveler may have had, the lawsuit says.

The lawsuit says he was wearing orange striped prison pants, was wandering from level to level and harassed a female airport cleaning staff member.

The lawsuit states the assault was captured on live video but it was not being monitored at the time by security staff. There was also no security staff physically present in the terminal, the bridge or the parking garage.

The woman seeks a jury trial and compensation for compensatory damages, interest, attorneys’ fees, costs of suit and other costs as the court sees fit.

A spokeswoman for the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey told New Jersey 101.5 the agency is not able to comment on pending litigation.

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