Cincinnati landlord Henry E. Bailey currently owns 22 apartments in three separate buildings in Ohio. And since at least 2008, the federal government says he’s been sneaking into the apartments of his female residents without their permission, groping them without their consent, offering reduced rent and maintenance repairs in exchange for sexual favors and refusing to make repairs for or offer rent discounts to those who refused.
Bailey, who bought his first apartment building in 1991, has even evicted female tenants who have not granted requested sexual favors, the Justice Department said in a complaint filed Monday.
DOJ’s suit, filed under the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988, alleges Bailey “on multiple occasions subjected actual and prospective female tenants of the subject properties to discrimination on the basis of sex, including severe, pervasive and unwelcome sexual harassment.”
The suit asks for monetary damages for the victims of the alleged harassment as well as civil penalties and a court order which bars future discrimination and requires additional preventive measures.
“Every individual has the right under federal law to rent housing without being subjected to sexual harassment,” Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas Perez said in a statement. “Landlords who abuse their power and authority in this way should be on notice that the Justice Department steadfastly enforces the Fair Housing Act throughout the United States.”
“A person’s home should provide a place of comfort and safety,” U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Carter M. Stewart said in a statement. “We must safeguard those values by investigating and prosecuting any person or group that seeks to interfere with them.”