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Spokane – William D. Hyslop, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, announced that he will use all available federal enforcement tools against those who try to capitalize on the COVID-19 crisis by sexually harassing people in need of housing, and is asking the individuals in the community to report housing-related sexual harassment.
United States Attorney Hyslop said, “The vast majority of landlords in our community have responded to the housing problems created by COVID-19 with care and compassion for their tenants. Those landlords should be commended and thanked. Unfortunately, there are also reports around the country of some landlords taking advantage of the financial hardships of their tenants by demanding sex-for-rent or otherwise sexually exploiting their tenants. This conduct is absolutely abhorrent, illegal under the Fair Housing Act, and has no place in our community. Sexually harassing a tenant is not who we are as a Nation and especially not who we are during this COVID-19 crisis; this cannot be tolerated.”
The Department of Justice, through the United States Attorney’s Office, remains unwavering in its enforcement of the Fair Housing Act. The Fair Housing Act prohibits sexual harassment in housing. Fair Housing Act cases often involve egregious conduct, including allegations that landlords, property managers, or maintenance workers have exposed their genitals to current or prospective tenants, requested sexual favors in exchange for reduced rents, made unrelenting and unwanted sexual advances to tenants, and evicted tenants who resisted the landlord’s sexual overtures.
“If anyone you know has experienced sexual harassment in housing, please contact the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice by calling (844) 380-6178 or emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org with a description of sexually harassing behavior. Individuals in Washington can also contact the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) by calling (800) 877-0246 or emailing: ComplaintsOffice10@hud.gov,” Hyslop said.
To arrange an interview with United States Attorney William Hyslop, contact Debra Doll at (509) 413-6344 or email Debra.Doll@usdoj.gov