The trial of a Baltimore public housing authority worker, accused of making demands for sexual favors to complete repairs, wrapped up abruptly on Thursday, March 16, 2017. The 62-year-old defendant had been charged with a fourth-degree sex offense, second-degree assault, harassment and misconduct. Charges were dropped after the alleged victim failed to appear in court on the first day of opening arguments.
As for the charges waged against the defendant in this case, they capture just a few of the many different allegations that were waged by female tenants living in public housing against the city’s workers in 2015. In fact, there were, at one point, more than 100 alleged victims who had filed a class action lawsuit against the city.
Those women alleged to have been subjected to living in unsafe living conditions including ones involving a lack of heat, electrical issues and mold. An $8 million settlement between the city and the alleged victims was reached in January of 2016.
As for the defendant’s criminal case though, his attorney argues that even barring the alleged victims attendance in court, his client would have still be acquitted of all charges. That’s because, he argues, the defendant did nothing wrong, unless one considers dedicating one’s entire life and career to their employer.
The fact that the alleged victim failed to appear in court to testify in this case, despite the fact that the case was completely contingent on her testimony, is not all that uncommon. In fact, more than 20 percent of felony cases end up in charges being dropped each year because either victims or witnesses fail to cooperate with investigators.
As for why the alleged victim failed to appear in court in this case, her attorney claims she couldn’t get her car to start, yet only advised him of the fact once charges were dropped. Little recourse existed to get the trial postponed once the jury was selected.
Being charged with criminal sexual conduct, especially when it involves the abuse of one’s role in a government job, is a felony offense, which can carry hefty sentences and fines. If you are facing charges for a sex crime, a Baltimore, Maryland, criminal defense attorney may be able to advise you in your legal matter.
Source: The Baltimore Sun, “Former city housing worker acquitted in ‘sex for repairs’ case,” Justin Fenton, March 17, 2017