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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 13, 2009
Justice Department Sues West Memphis, Ark. Landlords for Sexual Harassment

WASHINGTON The Justice Department today filed a lawsuit against Bobby L. Hurt, the former property manager for numerous mobile homes in and around West Memphis, Ark., alleging a pattern or practice of sexual harassment. The lawsuit also names Bobby Hurt's wife, Sue Hurt, as a defendant.

The complaint, filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Arkansas, alleges that Bobby Hurt, while providing property management services, entered the dwellings of female tenants without permission or notice, touched female tenants in an unwelcome sexual manner, made verbal sexual advances, and threatened and took steps to evict female tenants when they refused or objected to his sexual advances. The complaint also alleges that, while engaging in this harassment, Bobby Hurt acted on behalf of Sue Hurt, his wife and the former owner of the mobile homes.

"A woman should not have to experience unwelcome verbal and physical sexual advances in her own home from her housing provider," said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. "The Justice Department will vigorously prosecute any landlord who engages in sexual harassment in violation of the Fair Housing Act."

Today's lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate the victims, civil penalties and a court order barring future discrimination. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Arkansas, in Little Rock, will work with the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division in litigating the lawsuit.

Fighting illegal housing discrimination is a top priority of the Justice Department. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at http://www.usdoj.gov/crt. Individuals who have information related to this lawsuit should contact the Justice Department at 1-800-896-7743, mailbox 92. Individuals who believe that they may have been victims of housing discrimination unrelated to this lawsuit can call the Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, mailbox 1, email the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov, or contact the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777.

The complaint is an allegation of unlawful conduct.

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