FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 2, 2004
TDD (202) 514-1888
ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA LANDLORD PAYS $425,000 TO SETTLE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SEXUAL HARASSMENT CASE
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced that a St. Paul, Minnesota landlord has agreed to pay $425,000 to settle allegations that he sexually harassed female tenants.
“Landlords are trusted to provide housing without regard to sex,” said R. Alexander Acosta, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “Landlords who abuse their power to prey sexually on their tenants must be stopped. We are committed to aggressively pursuing any landlord who engages in this kind of loathsome behavior.”
The landlord, David R. Beaudet, has owned and managed numerous single-family rental homes throughout St. Paul since 1990. The Justice Department alleged that Beaudet subjected female tenants to severe, pervasive, and unwelcome sexual harassment. Specifically, the government alleged that he subjected female tenants to unwanted sexual touching and advances, conditioned the terms of women’s tenancy on the granting of sexual favors, and entered the apartments of female tenants without permission or notice.
“No person should be forced to be the victim of sexual harassment or unwanted sexual advances in order to obtain affordable housing,” said Tom Heffelfinger, United States Attorney for the District of Minnesota. “We take cases such as this very seriously. Any person who believes they have been the victim of sexual harassment or unwanted sexual advances as part of obtaining housing with any landlord should contact the Department of Justice or the Department of Housing and Urban Development.”
Under the consent decree, which still must be approved by the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota, Beaudet has agreed to pay $400,000 to the alleged victims, plus a $25,000 civil penalty to the United States. He has also agreed to hire a management company to manage his rental properties.
Since January 1, 2001, the Civil Rights Division has filed 149 cases under the Fair Housing Act, seven of which have alleged sexual harassment in housing. Earlier this year, the Division secured a record $1.1 million verdict against a Kansas City, Missouri landlord who sexually harassed his tenants.