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Press Release

Justice Department Secures Agreement from Ohio Landlords to Resolve Claims of Sexual Harassment Against Female Tenants

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced today that Joseph Pedaline and YLP LLC, who owned and managed residential rental properties in Youngstown, Ohio, have agreed to pay $199,000 to resolve a lawsuit alleging that they violated the Fair Housing Act. The department’s lawsuit alleged that Joseph Pedaline sexually harassed female tenants from at least 2009 to at least 2020, and that YLP LLC was liable for Pedaline’s conduct during the period in which it owned and managed the properties. 

“No one should ever have to fear sexual harassment when they sign a lease, pay their rent or simply spend time in their home,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “Landlords who sexually harass tenants violate the Fair Housing Act, and the Justice Department will continue to hold landlords accountable for this egregious conduct.”

“This consent decree bars Pedaline from ever again having the ability to rent property to others, and thus prevents him from ever again subjecting Ohio tenants to sexual harassment and discrimination in return for a place to live,” said U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko for the Northern District of Ohio. “This resolution should serve as a strong reminder to all landlords that they must comply with all aspects of the Fair Housing Act and may not engage in discriminatory behavior that violates the security, safety and wellbeing of their tenants.”

Under the consent decree entered by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Pedaline and YLP LLC must pay $189,000 to former tenants harmed by Pedaline’s discriminatory conduct and must pay a $10,000 civil penalty to the federal government. Pedaline and YLP LLC must also take steps to vacate any adverse judgments and repair the credit of tenants who were evicted after refusing Pedaline’s advances. The consent decree also bars future discrimination, permanently bars Pedaline from managing residential rental properties, mandates Fair Housing Act training and requires reporting regarding compliance with the consent decree’s terms.

The department’s lawsuit alleged that Joseph Pedaline subjected multiple female tenants to sexual harassment. According to the complaint, Pedaline subjected tenants to unwelcome sexual comments, entered the homes of female tenants without their consent, touched female tenants without their consent, offered to excuse late or unpaid rent in exchange for sexual acts and took adverse housing-related actions against female tenants who refused his sexual advances. The department’s complaint also alleged that YLP LLC was liable for Pedaline’s discriminatory conduct while it owned and managed the rental properties.

Individuals who may have been victims of sexual harassment at rental dwellings owned or managed by Joseph Pedaline or YLP LLC can email Youngstown.Community@usdoj.gov or call 1-833-591-0291 (press 1 for English, press 2 for sexual harassment and then press 01 for United States v. Joseph Pedaline to leave a message).

If you are a victim of sexual harassment by another landlord or have suffered other forms of housing discrimination, call the Justice Department’s Housing Discrimination Tip Line at 1-800-896-7743, email the Justice Department at fairhousing@usdoj.gov or submit a report online. More information about the Civil Rights Division and the laws it enforces is available at www.justice.gov/crt.

Reports may also may be made by contacting the Department of Housing and Urban Development at 1-800-669-9777 or by filing a complaint online.

The Justice Department’s Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative is led by the Civil Rights Division, in coordination with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices across the country. The initiative seeks to address and raise awareness about sexual harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, loan officers and other people who have control over housing. Since launching the initiative in October 2017, the department has filed 42 lawsuits alleging sexual harassment in housing and recovered nearly $17 million for victims of such harassment.

Updated June 20, 2024

Topics
Civil Rights
Fair Housing
Press Release Number: 24-785