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Worcester Landlord, Employee Harassed Tenants, Feds Allege

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A Massachusetts landlord and his sex offender employee sexually harassed tenants in Worcester, including offering reduced rent in exchange for sexual acts, federal prosecutors alleged Monday.

Both Mohan Prashad and his employee, David Besaw, harassed female tenants of rental properties owned by Prashad, starting in the former's case at least in 2009 and continuing through the present, according to the lawsuit brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division.

"No one should ever have to choose between housing and sexual harassment," U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling said in a statement.

Prosecutors say Prashad's harrasment included unwelcome sexual advances and comments, unwanted sexual touching, offers of reducing rents in exchange for sexual acts and refusing tenants maintenance services if they refused his advances.

Prashad also allegedly intimidated female tenants by "monitoring them from outside their apartments or rooms."

The complaint alleges Besaw groped, sexually assaulted, made unwelcome comments and sexual advances and exposed his genitals towards female tenants, the U.S. Attorney's Office said. In addition, he allegedly made intrusive and announced visit to female tenants' units.

Besaw, a Level 3 registered sex offender in Massachusetts, has worked for Prashad since at least 2014 helping to manage and maintain his properties. Among the charges Besaw has been convicted of that are listed in the sex offender registry are rape in 1977 and indecent assault and two separate charges involving children in 1985 and 2000.

Prashad allegedly ignored complaints about Besaw's activity and retaliated against those who did complain.

The federal lawsuit seeks monetary damages to compensate the victims. It's unclear how many victims there are.

It wasn't immediately clear if Prashad and Besaw had attorneys who could answer to the allegtions. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office is encouraging anyone who may have been victimized to come forward as the investigation continues. Victims can call 1-844-380-6178 or email at fairhousing@usdoj.gov.

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