U.S. Attorney’s Office and law enforcement agencies are combatting sexual harassment in housing during Coronavirus pandemic
For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Georgia
ATLANTA – As the nation adopts measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, many Georgians have lost their jobs and countless more have seen their wages curtailed. These losses have forced many to seek abatements or suspensions of their rent, with reports that nearly one third of Americans were unable to pay their April rent at the beginning of the month. During this time, predatory practices have been identified and are particularly disturbing as some landlords exploit our current national crisis by sexually harassing people in need of housing.
“Many landlords responded to these circumstances with understanding and care, trying to work with their tenants to weather the current crisis,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “However, there have been reports of landlords who have responded to requests to defer rent payments with demands for sexual favors and other acts of unwelcome sexual conduct. Such behavior is despicable, and illegal.”
Sexual harassment in housing includes demands for sex or sexual acts in order to buy, rent, or continue renting a home. It also includes other unwelcome sexual conduct that makes it hard to keep living in or feel comfortable in your home. The Sexual Harassment in Housing Initiative is an effort to combat sexual harassment in housing led by the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. The goal of the Initiative is to address sexual harassment by landlords, property managers, maintenance workers, loan officers or other people who have control over housing.
Attorney General William Barr has directed the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division and every U.S. Attorney's Office to devote all necessary resources to investigate reports of housing-related sexual harassment resulting from the current crisis. To report sexual harassment in housing to the DOJ, we have a toll-free phone number (1-844-380-6178), as well as an email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) and webpage.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia and the Department of Justice (DOJ) will work with all federal agencies, as well as state, and local officials on reports of housing-related sexual harassment. We stand ready to take aggressive action against this misconduct whenever it occurs.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.
Updated April 29, 2020