Baltimore Women Win ‘Sex for Repairs’ Lawsuit
At least 19 women in Baltimore have won a settlement against the city after alleging they were forced into sex acts by maintenance workers in public housing in exchange for getting repairs to their homes made.
The settlement, for an undisclosed amount of money, was awarded to women from Gilmor Homes, Westport, and Govans Manor public housing units as part of a class action suit. The Gilmor Homes are near the site of Freddie Gray’s arrest by Baltimore police.
The head of the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, Paul Graziano, acknowledged talks began in December and announced a tentative settlement on Monday. The case was heard in U.S. District Court but, was awaiting approval from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The parties involved would not provide any details. Each woman will have to apply for their share of the settlement.
The case dates back to 2013. Initially, ten women came forward, by last year the number had grown to 19. The women whose ages varied said maintenance workers only agreed to make repairs after performing sex acts. In one case, a 52-year-old woman was told she had to perform a sex act for the workers to fix a raw sewage leak into her drinking water and bathtub.
The woman documented they had made complaints to headquarters; however, no one in a position of authority ever responded, the suit says. One unidentified woman in the complaint said: “I felt nasty and wronged.”
While the civil case in Baltimore has concluded, a separate criminal case is still going forward.
In July of 2015 a similar suit alleged sexual harassment of women by a housing coordinator and an inspector of a Section 8 voucher program in Scotland County, N.C. That case was settled for $2.7 million.