Lawsuit: Trading Sex for Repairs?

Seven women who live at a Baltimore public housing complex filed a lawsuit earlier this week alleging that maintenance workers demanded sexual favors in return for fixing key appliances in their apartments, Baltimore Sun reports.

In the lawsuit, the women say the abuse at Gilmor Homes was primarily executed by Clinton Coleman, who is the maintenance supervisor and another worker.

They say the workers demanded sexual favors in return for repairing a gas leak, exterminating roaches and making other improvements.

The lawsuit accuses city Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano and other housing officials of ignoring “numerous complaints and repeatedly allowed abusers to maintain their positions of power.”

The women are seeking more than $10 million each for each of the roughly 15 counts.

In affidavits, several women outlined their attempts to discuss the alleged abuse with housing officials. The women allege assault and violations of their constitutional and fundamental rights, including the right to physical security.

They also claim violations of the Fair Housing Act. None of the women have filed criminal charges.

The housing department is investigating sexual harassment claims at Gilmor Homes, but did not provide any additional details, according to Howard Libit, a spokesman for the Rawlings-Blake administration.

In a statement, the Housing Authority of Baltimore City said Monday the agency is reviewing the lawsuit. It also stated that Graziano is aware of the allegations and “finds them extremely disturbing.”

The agency “considers any employee actions that would subject its residents to sexual abuse or sexual harassment to be reprehensible” and “takes the safety and well-being of its residents very seriously,” according to the statement.

The agency is conducting an internal investigation and is reviewing the lawsuit.