published : 2023-09-07
DOJ Files Lawsuit Against Ohio Landlord Accused of Sexually Harassing Tenants over 11-Year Period
Joseph Pedaline, 71, Allegedly Evicted Female Tenants after They Refused his Advances
The Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against an Ohio landlord, Joseph Pedaline, accusing him of sexually harassing female tenants over an 11-year period.
According to the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Pedaline is accused of violating the Fair Housing Act by repeatedly sexually harassing multiple women at residential properties that he owned or managed in the Youngstown area.
The civil complaint states that Pedaline made sexual comments, touched female tenants without their consent, entered their homes without permission, and offered to overlook or waive rent payments in exchange for sexual favors.
Furthermore, the lawsuit alleges that Pedaline evicted tenants or threatened to do so if they refused his advances.
The lawsuit seeks financial compensation for the affected tenants, a civil penalty to uphold the public interest, and a court order to prevent future discrimination.
The complaint recounts several instances of alleged harassment, spanning from 2009 to 2020, including incidents where Pedaline locked a door while showing a woman a vacant apartment and touched her inappropriately, and another where he suggested a tenant could work off her rent through sexual favors.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the DOJ's Civil Rights Division emphasized the importance of holding landlords accountable for sexual harassment in housing, stating that it is wrong, immoral, and illegal.
U.S. Attorney Rebecca C. Lutzko for the Northern District of Ohio emphasized that the lawsuit sends a message that the exploitation of vulnerable community members will not be tolerated.
Tenants who believe they were sexually harassed by Pedaline or have relevant information can contact the Justice Department's Housing Discrimination Hotline to report their experiences.