Massachusetts Landlord Accused of Sexually Harassing Female Tenants, Offering Reduced Rents in Exchange for Sex

A landlord in Massachusetts and his sex offender employee are accused of sexually harassing female tenants and refusing to assist with maintenance at their properties after the tenants rejected their advances.

Landlord Mohan Prashad and employee David Besaw, a Level 3 registered sex offender in Massachusetts, are accused of targeting women renting properties owned by Prashad in Worcester for several years.

According to a Department of Justice lawsuit filed in the District of Massachusetts, the women were subjected to sexual harassment and retaliation by Prashad and Besaw in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.

Prosecutors accuse Prashad of making sexual advances and comments towards the women, engaging in unwanted sexual touching and offering to reduce their rent in exchange for engaging in sexual acts from around 2009 to the present.

Prashad is also accused of intimidating female tenants by monitoring them from outside their apartments or rooms, according to authorities.

In one incident, Prashad is accused of turning the heat off at a woman's apartment and then initiating eviction proceedings after she turned down his advances during one of his "uninvited and unannounced" late night appearances at her home, reports Mass Live.

Prashad is also accused of ignoring complaints which were made to him about his employee Besaw—a sex offender convicted of sexual assault of children, rape, incestuous marriage or intercourse, and open and gross lewdness. Besaw has been working for Prashad for at least five years.

Prosecutors say that Besaw subjected women to groping, sexual assault and forced touching of their bodies. He is also accused of making intrusive, unannounced visits to their homes to attempt further sexual advances.

"In fact, in 2017, defendant Prashad instead took adverse actions against female tenants who complained about defendant Besaw's conduct," the lawsuit states. "One female tenant, whose breasts and buttocks were grabbed by defendant Besaw, obtained a temporary restraining order against defendant Besaw. Ten days later, defendant Prashad sent her a notice to vacate her tenancy."

The woman later successfully challenged the eviction, but Prashad then refused to fix the heating in her apartment.

Besaw is also accused of showing one woman a photo of his genitals, as well as nude photos of young girls.

Prosecutors are seeking monetary damages to compensate the victims, civil penalties and a court order barring future discrimination.

"Landlords or their employees who sexually harass tenants will be held accountable under the law by the Department of Justice," Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband said in a statement.

"Such depraved conduct, targeting some of the most vulnerable in our communities, violates the Fair Housing Act and will not be tolerated. The Civil Rights Division will continue to enforce the law vigorously and work to secure justice for victims of these offenses."

U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling added: "No one should ever have to choose between housing and sexual harassment.

"Sexual harassment is illegal under the Fair Housing Act, and my office is committed to achieving justice and compensation for individuals whose civil rights have been violated. I encourage anyone who has been subjected to sexual harassment by his or her landlord or employee of a landlord to report it to my office."

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File photo. A Massachusetts landlord and his employee are accused of sexually harassing and retaliating against tenants. Scott Olson/Getty