BALTIMORE (WJZ) — New victims are coming forward to join a sextortion federal lawsuit against the Baltimore Housing Authority. In addition to the lawsuit, other public housing residents are demanding repairs and accountability.
Tracey Leong explains these latest developments.
Not only are residents alleging maintenance workers were demanding sexual favors for repairs, they also claim those workers were bullies who blamed the unsafe conditions on the tenants.
Living in deplorable conditions, from faulty wiring to rodent infestations and mold.
“The fireman came in and said the wiring in my whole unit is unusable and it’s unsafe and my whole unit is unlivable,” said Ryesha Harrell, resident.
For the past five years, Tyesha Harrell has been living in fear at the Gilmor Homes with her five children.
“Going to sleep at night and burning up in the fire,” said Harrell.
She claims maintenance workers refused to fix the hazardous conditions.
Harrell was never sexually harassed by workers, but says she’s not surprised it’s happened.
Four more women are now joining the multi-million dollar federal lawsuit against the Baltimore Housing Authority, alleging the maintenance workers asked for sexual favors in exchange for repairs.
“She went to her boss and let the second in command know back in May, that, because she refused sexual favors for the maintenance men, she had not had heat for two years,” attorney Cary Hansel said.
Hansel represents the 11 women in the lawsuit. The latest to come forward was also a Housing Authority employee.
Some residents are willing to live in these dangerous conditions because they are too scared to call for help from maintenance.
“On behalf of Local 647, I would like to apologize to anybody that any maintenance person has offended,” said Lucky Crosby Sr., former maintenance worker.
A former Housing Authority maintenance employee, Crosby Sr. was suspended after reporting the abuse to management.
“Housing Authority executives knew what was going on here and they chose to turn a blind eye,” he said.
In a statement to WJZ, Housing Authority says it “…considers any employee actions that would subject its residents to sexual abuse or sexual harassment to be reprehensible.”
The public housing residents will be holding a press conference Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. at the Gilmor Homes to list their demands to the Housing Authority.