DOJ files sexual harassment charges against Janesville landlords

Judge's gavel
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JANESVILLE, Wis. — A Janesville landlord was accused of sexually harassing multiple female tenants over the last two decades.

The U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Richard Donahue Friday, alleging sexual harassment and retaliation. DOJ officials said Donahue violated the Fair Housing Act. Donahue’s wife Mary was named a defendant in the suit.

According to the DOJ, Donahue made repeated and unwelcome sexual comments toward women living at the rental properties he owned. He allegedly entered women’s homes without consent, touched them inappropriately, requested sex and offered free or reduced rent in exchange for sex.

Donahue allegedly took “adverse housing-related actions” against the women who refused his advances. Officials said this alleged abuse had been occurring since at least 2000.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages for those harmed by the alleged harassment, civil penalties and a court order barring Donahue from discriminating further.