BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A sex for repairs scandal rocks the Baltimore Housing Authority. Now the city has reached a settlement in a federal lawsuit brought by women who say they were victimized.
WJZ has confirmed the two sides have reached a deal within the past few weeks.
Meghan McCorkell has details.
The terms of the agreement have not been disclosed.
Deplorable conditions–with rodents, broken heaters and holes in the walls–but some women in public housing claim maintenance men demanded sex to repair the problems.
“Then they come in there and try to get fresh and try to hit on us, but you haven’t been doing anything,” one woman said.
Now, at least 20 women have settled a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the Housing Authority.
Attorneys filed for class action status, claiming there are many more victims.
“We expect there to be hundreds of women who were affected, and we want to make sure every one of them is protected,” said attorney Cary Hansel.
According to the lawsuit obtained by WJZ, women were sexually abused and harassed by maintenance men. When one woman told a supervisor, she claims she was told he “could not guarantee her safety if she continues with her complaint.”
The Housing Authority has taken steps to address the allegations.
“We have set up a hotline, it’s a confidential hotline. Anybody who has a problem, should come to us,” said Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano.
Still, attorneys said it was not enough.
“It’s too little, too late, and we want to see justice done–not just for our clients, but for all the women in public housing,” said Hansel.
The settlement now needs approval from a judge and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
A criminal investigation into the maintenance workers is still ongoing.
The victims had been seeking $10 million a piece.