Wandering Eye: Baltimore Housing faces more sexual assault claims, growing suburban homelessness, and more

The number of women who claim that at least three different Housing Authority of Baltimore City maintenance men pressured them for sex in exchange for needed repairs on their apartments increased by at least one yesterday, when another woman joined the month-old suit against HABC. Her story has a twist: In the middle of the harassment, the 24-year-old mother went to work at HABC. She eventually told her boss, Deputy Executive Director Anthony Scott, about Clinton (aka Charles) Coleman's alleged sexual demands. In May, according to her affidavit, she told Scott about "Coleman's repeated sexual harassment of me and about the fact that I do not have any heat as a result." Next, she says, an audit investigator, Reggie Scriber, called and eventually "told me that he could not guarantee my safety if I continued with my complaint." So far, 11 women have sworn affidavits against Coleman, Doug Hussy, and Michael Robertson, saying they routinely pressured them for sex, assaulted them, and refused to do needed repairs if they did not give in to their sexual demands. The women say they tried to get supervisors to intervene, to no avail. Two men—union investigators—say they found other female residents who tell similar stories, and that they were also told by HABC management to not investigate and not put anything they found in writing. (Edward Ericson Jr.)


While you would probably expect to see homeless populations more in Baltimore City than in Howard County, suburban poverty and homelessness are on the rise across the country, as Sarah Kendzior reports for The Guardian. She talks to a woman from St. Louis County who became homeless in the suburbs after her husband died. The woman was unable to find a job, and she couldn't negotiate with the bank after they began foreclosing on her house because the mortgage had been in her husband's name only. After she became homeless, she had to move to St. Louis, the city, because there were no homeless shelters in St. Louis, the county. "Sharratt's story is not unusual," Kendzior writes. "Over the past 15 years, suburban poverty and homelessness have grown rapidly. Between 2000 and 2011 the number of poor residents in the suburbs of the US's largest metropolitan areas grew by 64%. By 2008 the number of suburban poor exceeded the poor in cities by 1.5 million. Whereas once-poor city residents fled to the suburbs for a better life, impoverished suburbanites like Sharratt now rely on city shelters to take them in." (Anna Walsh)


The new "Star Wars" trailer came out last night, and oh man, fans everywhere are nerding out because we have an actual sense of what the story might be and who these newer characters are. Ermahgerd! But not everyone was thrilled, as multiple web outlets reported—the hashtag #BoycottStarWarsVII became a trending topic on Twitter reportedly because the movie promotes "white genocide." Here's Luke O'Neil in Esquire to explain why this campaign is most likely bullshit. "For almost the entirety of the hashtag's run, it was dominated by people commenting on how terrible it was, with very little of the noise coming from actual racists, the thing we were supposed to be upset about in the first place. That's because there weren't that many of them involved." Unsurprisingly, O'Neil finds, many of the noted pranksters on 4chan were soon taking credit for the hoax. As for those who say there's no difference between racism and "ironic racism," O'Neil says, "it's incumbent upon a media professional to be able to distinguish between the two." (Brandon Weigel)

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