Convicted gay basher to be paroled
by Timothy Cwiek
Jun 26, 2014 | 701 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After 15 years of incarceration, convicted gay basher Herbert C. Haak will be released to a halfway house in August.

Last month, the state Board of Probation and Parole decided to grant parole to Haak. He’s scheduled to be released to a halfway house on or about Aug. 18.

The location of the halfway house won’t be divulged until Haak begins residing there, a state Department of Corrections spokesperson said.

Haak, 43, is expected to live in the halfway house for about 30 days, before being released to the community.

In 1995, Haak and co-defendant Richard Wise assaulted a gay man with a tuna can and stole his jacket.

A Philadelphia jury convicted Haak of robbery and criminal conspiracy.

In a separate bench trial, Wise was convicted of aggravated assault and related offenses.

Wise, 38, was paroled in 2010.

The incident took place near Schuylkill River Park, a gay-cruising area at the time, and police termed the incident a “gay bashing.”

Three days earlier, Kimberly Ernest was raped and murdered while jogging in Center City.

Haak and Wise were accused of her murder, but they were acquitted by a jury in 1997.

Haak contended that local authorities retaliated against him for the acquittal by unfairly linking him to the gay-bashing incident.

He has consistently denied harboring any anti-LGBT sentiments.

Susan Bensinger, a state DOC spokesperson, said the department recommended that Haak be released.

“Mr. Haak has completed any and all programs he was required to attend,” Bensinger said. “His institutional adjustment has been satisfactory. He’s been employed as a peer educator while incarcerated. He had some minor misconducts. But it’s been more than six years since his last infraction.”

If Haak were required to serve his maximum sentence, he wouldn’t be released until Aug. 18, 2029, according to DOC records.

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