City Maintenance Men Demand Sex from Single Mothers for Repairs in Public Housing Units: Federal Lawsuit Filed
As Communities United has knocked on doors and engaged residents in Gilmor Homes in Baltimore's Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood, almost everyone identifies the deplorable conditions of their apartments as a top priority for action. Life threatening conditions are found throughout Baltimore's public housing: mold, a lack of heat, rodent and insect infestations, water and gas leaks and shut offs, and the risk of electrocution.
Yet as Communities United worked with Gilmore residents, an even more shocking story was uncovered - maintenance men sexually harassing and demanding sex from women who had come to them for much needed repairs in their apartments. Several women, who did not know each other, told this same story. Determined that something had to be done, Communities United reached out to Cary J. Hansel of Hansel Law, PC. He teamed up with Annie Hirsch of Hirsch and Cosca, PC and on September 28, a federal lawsuit was filed against the Housing Authority and the City of Baltimore on behalf of seven brave women (six from Gilmore and one from Westport) who came forward to tell their stories of harassment, threats and abuse. Since the lawsuit was filed, four more women victimized by maintenance workers have joined the class action suit. On October 21, the Housing Authority finally fired Clinton Coleman and Michael Robertson, the abusive employees named in the lawsuit, and Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced a criminal investigation.
As the lawsuit details, the City has known for years, as the result of numerous complaints, that maintenance men demand sex from female residents before repairing deplorable conditions in their public housing units. Maintenance men have "a special relationship with the residents of public housing in Baltimore in that they are in positions of trust, holding keys and with access to the homes of the hundreds of residents whose units they are charged with repairing," the legal brief reads. These City employees, including a maintenance supervisor, are being sued for preying on females from the under-aged to women in their 50’s and from the able-bodied to the handicapped.
The lawsuit underscores the deplorable conditions in public housing, Gilmor Homes in particular. These victims are too poor to move and so have been forced to live in squalor or succumb to unwanted sexual demands to save themselves and, more often than not, their children, from life-threatening conditions.