Boston Esplanade sex assault suspect: ‘I beat that rape case and my lawyer will beat this [expletive] case, too’

Joseph Barthel's booking photo from a previous arrest in Boston. PHOTO VIA SUFFOLK COUNTY DA.
Joseph Barthel’s booking photo from a previous arrest in Boston. PHOTO VIA SUFFOLK COUNTY DA.

A man arrested Sunday for allegedly assaulting a 21-year-old unconscious woman on the Boston Esplanade was held on high bail at his arraignment today, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.

Granting a request by Assistant District Attorney Michael V. Glennon, Charlestown District Court Judge Robert J. McKenna ordered Joseph Barthel, 49, held on $100,000 cash bail. McKenna further ordered that Barthel, who also uses the alias Joseph Stone, have no contact with the victim in the case.

Massachusetts State Police said they saw Barthel lying on top of the woman, who police said was homeless, near the Community Boating dock while on patrol about 1 a.m. Sunday. On closer observation, they saw that the woman was unconscious.

Troopers called for Boston EMS and separated the two. In a statement, Barthel allegedly identified the female by the wrong name, berated the responding troopers, and smelled strongly of alcohol.

Emergency medical technicians were able to rouse the woman, who said that she knew Barthel only as a friend of a friend with whom they had been drinking earlier in the day. She told the troopers that she had passed out as Barthel was trying to kiss her.

Barthel, who claimed residence at a Boston shelter but lived in Waltham as recently as February, allegedly told troopers that “You didn’t see [expletive] and you can’t prove [expletive] either. I beat that rape case and my lawyer will beat this [expletive] case, too.”

The earlier case also involved a homeless woman who told police that Barthel had sexually assaulted her after meeting and consuming alcohol together in downtown Boston. Barthel was charged with rape in connection with that incident, which took place at Long Wharf Park in the early morning hours of Oct. 21, 2012. The charge against Barthel was withdrawn in January because, despite exhaustive efforts, Boston Police detectives were unable to locate the victim in time for trial. By withdrawing the case instead of proceeding to a dismissal, prosecutors will be able to re-charge the case when the victim is located.

The troopers who interrupted Barthel’s alleged assault on the most recent victim were part of directed patrols implemented by State Police several weeks ago to enhance security for visitors to the Esplanade. Among the reasons for the deployment of those patrols are three past assaults on the Esplanade that have been linked to one another and to a fourth assault at Joe Moakley Park in South Boston.

Based in part on his physical description, which does not match that of the unidentified assailant, Barthel is not believed to be linked to the earlier, unsolved attacks. As in any sexual assault, however, investigators will review open cases that share similarities with this weekend’s incident.

While the victims of any crime are asked to call 911 in an emergency, the survivors of sexual violence in Suffolk County can also call the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center’s 24-hour hotline at 800-841-8371. The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center provides medical advocacy, legal services, counseling, and other services to victims of rape and sexual assault.

Barthel is represented by attorney Chris Donahue. He will return to court on Aug. 2.

Follow Morgan Rousseau on Twitter: @MetroMorgan
Follow Metro Boston on Twitter: @MetroBOS


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