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Dayton Property Manager Accused of Unwanted Sexual Advances, Other Charges

The manager of a residential property in Dayton and the property's owner face federal charges announced Wednesday by the U.S. Justice Department.

A lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky alleges that Gus Crank demanded that female tenants engage in sex acts to keep their housing, engaged in unwelcome sexual touching, offered to reduce monthly rental payments in exchange for sex, made unwelcome sexual comments and advances, made intrusive and unannounced visits to female tenants' homes to make further sexual advances, and evicted or threatened to evict female tenants who objected to or refused his advances. 

“No female tenant should have to suffer sexual harassment as a condition of maintaining housing for herself or her family,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband. “The Justice Department will continue to enforce the Fair Housing Act against property managers and owners who make illegal demands for sex and cause women to feel unsafe in their own homes.”

“Everyone has the right to be free from sexual harassment and intimidation, and the allegations in this case are very troubling,” said Robert M. Duncan, Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky. “Individuals who are being victimized as a condition of their housing have rights and we encourage them to report this type of reprehensible behavior to the Department of Justice.”

The owner of the property, which was not identified in a news release from the Justice Dept., Penny Crank, is also accused of being liable for Gus Crank's actions because he managed the property on her behalf, a news release said.

In October 2017, the Justice Department launched an initiative to combat sexual harassment in housing. In April 2018, the Department announced the nationwide rollout of the initiative, including three major components: a new joint Task Force with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to combat sexual harassment in housing, an outreach toolkit to leverage the Department’s nationwide network of U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and a public awareness campaign, including the launch of a national Public Service Announcement.

Since launching the initiative, the Justice Department has filed eight lawsuits alleging a pattern or practice of sexual harassment in housing. The Justice Department has filed or settled 14 sexual harassment cases since January 2017, and has recovered over $1.6 million for victims of sexual harassment in housing.

Wednesday’s lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate the victims, civil penalties, and a court order barring future discrimination. 

-Michael Monks, editor & publisher