DOJ files sexual harassment lawsuit against Russellville couple

RUSSELLVILLE, Ky.- The U.S. Department of Justice has filed a lawsuit against a Russellville couple, alleging they violated the Fair Housing Act by subjecting female tenants to sexual harassment and retaliation.

According to a news release from the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, Gordon Whitescarver is accused of sexually harassing a number of his female tenants since at least 2012.

According to the complaint, he made repeated and unwelcome sexual comments, entered the homes of female tenants without their consent, touched female tenants’ bodies without their consent, requested sexual favors, offered reduced or free rent in exchange for sexual favors, and took adverse housing-related actions against female tenants who refused his sexual advances.

The lawsuit also names as a defendant, Betsy Whitescarver, Gordon Whitescarver’s wife, who co-owns and manages the properties. According to the complaint, she threatened and retaliated against women who complained about her husband’s harassment.

According to the release, the lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate the victims, civil penalties to vindicate the public interest, and a court order barring future discrimination. The complaint contains allegations of unlawful conduct; the allegations must be proven in federal court.