WASHINGTON – The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against Cincinnati landlord Henry E. Bailey alleging that Bailey sexually harassed female tenants at residential properties he has owned and managed in the Cincinnati metropolitan area.
The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, alleges that Bailey violated the Fair Housing Act by subjecting female tenants and prospective tenants to unwanted verbal sexual advances and unwanted sexual touching; entering the apartments of female tenants without permission and notice; granting and denying tangible housing benefits based on sex; and taking adverse actions against female tenants when they refused his sexual advances.
"Every individual has the right under federal law to rent housing without being subjected to sexual harassment," said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "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," said U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio Carter M. Stewart. "We must safeguard those values by investigating and prosecuting any person or group that seeks to interfere with them."
The suit seeks monetary damages for victims of the alleged harassment, civil penalties and a court order barring future discrimination and requiring additional preventive measures.
Fighting illegal housing discrimination is a top priority of the Justice Department. The federal Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination in housing based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability and familial status. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt.
Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, e-mail the Justice Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.
The complaint is an allegation of unlawful conduct. The allegations must be proved in federal court.