FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2003
TDD (202) 514-1888
JUSTICE DEPARTMENT SETTLES SEXUAL HARASSMENT CASE
AGAINST KANSAS MOBILE HOME PARK OWNERS
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The Justice Department today announced that the owners and operators of the Midway Mobile Home Park in Junction City, Kansas, have agreed to pay $300,000 in damages and penalties to settle a lawsuit alleging that one of the owners sexually harassed women tenants at the Park.
Under the agreement announced today, which must still be approved by the United States District Court in Topeka, Kansas, the defendants will pay $270,000 to the victims and $30,000 in civil penalties to the United States. The agreement also requires the defendants to refrain from future contact with tenants, institute a sexual harassment policy and complaint procedure, and train all Midway Mobile Home Park employees in fair housing laws.
"Sexual harassment in housing is a serious and all-too common problem," said Assistant Attorney General Ralph F. Boyd, Jr. "Today's settlement will ensure that this conduct does not recur at Midway Mobile Home Park, and sends a strong message to others that this conduct will not be tolerated."
The Justice Department complaint alleged that one of the park owners made repeated and unwelcome sexual comments to female tenants, offered female tenants reductions in their rent and other privileges in exchange for sexual acts, entered female tenants' trailers without permission and without a legitimate reason, and inappropriately touched female tenants.
This case began when a former tenant at the Park filed a complaint with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) alleging that one of the park owners had sexually harassed her. After investigating the complaint, HUD determined that there was reasonable cause to believe that discrimination had occurred and the matter was referred to the Justice Department. The Department filed suit on behalf of that tenant and other victims of the alleged harassment.
"Sexual harassment has no place in America's housing market and - as this case demonstrates - HUD is prepared to act wherever and whenever it occurs," said Carolyn Peoples, Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. "We stand ready to work cooperatively with the Department of Justice to root out discrimination."
Anyone who has information about this case, or believes they were a victim of harassment at the Midway Mobile Home Park, may contact the Justice Department's Housing and Civil Enforcement Section at 1-800-896-7743 or at www.usdoj.gov/crt/housing/index.html. Individuals who believe that they have been otherwise discriminated against in violation of the Fair Housing Act may contact HUD at 1-800-669-9777 or visit the website at www.hud.gov/offices/fheo/index.cfm.