DOJ files sexual harassment lawsuit against Davenport rental property owner

Suit also names corporate owner of rental property
Published: Jun. 30, 2020 at 11:09 AM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The Department of Justice on Tuesday announced it has filed a lawsuit against an owner and manager of rental properties in Davenport the department says violated the Fair Housing Act by subjecting a female tenant to sexual harassment and retaliation.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in U.S. District Court, Davenport, claims Juan Goitia, the manager of multiple residential rental units, sexually harassed a female tenant from March 2018 until August 2018.

Goitia made repeated and unwelcome sexual comments to the woman, touched her body without her consent on multiple occasions, and retaliated against her for filing a fair housing complaint, the DOJ said in the complaint.

The lawsuit also names 908 Bridge Cooperative, the corporate owner of the rental property where the DOJ says the harassment occurred.

“No woman should have to endure sexual harassment to keep her home,” Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband of the Civil Rights Division said in the release. “The Fair Housing Act protects tenants from sexual harassment and retaliation by their landlords, and the Justice Department will vigorously pursue those who engage in such reprehensible and illegal conduct.”

Added Assistant Secretary Anna Marie Farias of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, “Women have a hard enough time finding a decent affordable place to live without having to be subjected to unwanted sexual advances.”

“HUD applauds the action the Justice Department is taking in this matter and remains committed to working together to protect the housing rights of women when those rights are violated.”

The DOJ said Tuesday the lawsuit arose from a complaint about Goitia’s alleged conduct that the former tenant filed with the Davenport Commission on Civil Rights and HUD.

After DCRC and HUD investigated the complaints, HUD issued a charge of discrimination and the matter was referred to the Department of Justice.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate the woman who made the complaint and a court order barring future discrimination, the DOJ said in the release.

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