BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A sexual extortion scandal rocked Baltimore City public housing, with accusations that workers were forcing tenants to have sex in exchange for repairs.
Now, the City State’s Attorney’s Office has filed charges against two of those workers, WJZ’s Ava-joye Burnett reports. One told our media, The Baltimore Sun, that he was “set up.”
Raw sewage bubbling up through pipes, no heat and even apartments infested with rodents — that’s what women living in Baltimore City public housing say they were forced to live in if they didn’t perform sexual favors for maintenance workers.
The State’s Attorney’s Office announced a slew of charges against two of the workers, including fourth-degree sex offense.
“Well, I can’t go into a lot of detail about the case because it is an open and pending case. However, the charges in this case — like in all cases — reflect our subsequent investigation and our obligation to apply the facts to the law,” said Rochelle Ritchie, Baltimore State’s Attorney’s Office.
The two workers charged are Charles Coleman and Doug Hussy.
Hussy told our media partner, The Baltimore Sun, that: “They got it wrong. I never did anything to nobody.”
In January, the Baltimore Housing Authority’s top leader spoke up after the city reached settlement in a multi-million dollar lawsuit.
“Mistakes have been made here, and some of them have been very serious mistakes,” said Paul Graziano, Baltimore Housing Commissioner.
Initially, there were 19 women on that class action lawsuit. Last month, more women were added, bringing the total number to 56.
“They left her in the house for two weeks straight with no lights,” said one man, whose mother is part of the class action lawsuit against the city. “It was pretty hard. I had to talk her into it… because I believe wrong is wrong.”
Community advocates who have been pushing for change say the victims’ voices are finally being heard.
“To see that for once, those who have been entrusted, who have breached that trust, are now being held personally accountable,” said Perry Hopkins, Communities United.
Some workers were fired after the sex-for-repairs scandal came to light.
As for the class action lawsuit, the housing authority has agreed to pay millions to the victims once the courts make the final approval.