Housing Workers Said to Trade Sex for Repairs

     BALTIMORE (CN) – Female residents of the Baltimore Housing Authority’s Gilmore Housing project claim in court they were forced to provide sexual favors to maintenance men to have repairs made to their homes.
     In a 34-page complaint filed in the Baltimore Federal Court on Monday, seven women detail the alleged “quid pro quo” of sexual acts for necessary repairs including repaired gas leaks, electrical problems and exterminations.
     The suit alleges the abuse, which also included sexual threats, was perpetuated primarily by maintenance supervisor Clinton Coleman and his workers.
     “These Housing Authority employees routinely harass and abuse the vulnerable women in public housing,” the suit alleges. “These defendants are subjecting the tenants to life-threatening living conditions, including but not limited to: mold, lack of heat, rodent and insect infestations and risk of electrocution. These victims are too poor to move and relocate their families.”
     The women say they are “left with the impossible choice of either succumbing to unwanted sexual demands in order to save themselves and their children from life-threatening conditions in their homes, or, living in squalor.”
     The women also claim they sought the help of Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano and other housing officials, who “ignored numerous complaints and repeatedly allowed abusers to maintain their positions of power.”
     The women are seeking $10 million in damages on claims of battery, negligent hiring and breaches of the Fair Housing and Civil Rights Acts.
     They are represented by Cary Hansel, and Annie Hirsch, of Hirsch & Cosca, of Baltimore.
     “The Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) Executive Director Paul T. Graziano is aware of the allegations of sexual abuse at Gilmore Homes and finds them extremely disturbing,” Tania Baker, a spokeswoman for the organization wrote in an email. “HABC considers any employee actions that would subject its residents to sexual abuse or sexual harassment to be reprehensible.”
     “HABC takes the safety and well-being of its residents very seriously. The agency continues to actively conduct an internal investigation of the alleged sexual abuse; however, details of this pending personnel investigation cannot be disclosed,” Baker said.

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