In the Media: Gilmor Homes Women File Lawsuit; New Law for Heroin Overdose Drug
A digest of Baltimore news from local sources.
From The AFRO American: Seven Women File $950 Million Lawsuit
"Seven women residents of Gilmor Homes have filed a $950 million lawsuit against the Housing Authority of Baltimore City (HABC) over claims they were sexually harassed by maintenance workers on the property.
"The suit—filed on behalf of the seven residents by attorneys Cary Hansel of Hansel Law, PC, and Annie Hirsch of Hirsch and Cosca, PC—alleges that the women faced sexual advances, touching, and other forms of harassment when they sought repairs for issues inside their units. The suit names four defendants: HABC, Baltimore Housing commissioner (and executive director of HABC) Paul Graziano, maintenance supervisor Clinton Coleman, and maintenance worker Mike Robertson.
"According to the statement of facts, all seven women say they faced sexual advances, and in some cases physical touching as well as coerced sexual acts, including intercourse. In an affidavit accompanying the lawsuit, one resident, Nicole Smith, testifies that she moved to Gilmor after escaping an abusive relationship, only to be coerced into sexual favors by Coleman in exchange for repairs. Smith says that she acceded to the demands due to concerns over her own safety as well as her eight-year-old daughter’s, who lives with her at Gilmor.
"The suit also alleges that three of the seven named plaintiffs, Smith, Amy Towson, and Jacqueline Morant, complained to other housing officials about the harassment by maintenance workers, only to see their complaints go nowhere.
“'The practice of demanding sex for repairs is so widespread that it is a pattern and practice by [HABC], whose housing officials have repeatedly turned their backs on the most vulnerable city residents,' reads the lawsuit, in part. 'For years, [HABC] has ignored numerous complaints and repeatedly allowed abusers to maintain their positions of power. These abusers hold tremendous power over the women bringing this lawsuit. Defendants Coleman and Robertson: possess keys to all of their victim’s homes which they utilize to come and go as they please, have the ability to have residents evicted, and the ability to ignore badly-needed repairs.'
"The message these seven women are sending to the Housing Authority is simple, says Hirsch.
“'These conditions are unlivable and intolerable. From the conditions the women are living in themselves, and the failure of the system itself, to make the repairs, to the undue pressure [to engage in sexual favors] . . . this needs to be stopped immediately, and these conditions have to be repaired immediately.'”
From WBAL TV: Baltimore Third-Grade Student Dies after Fall at School
"City police are investigating the death of a third-grade student.
"The Gwynns Falls Elementary School student was found in some kind of distress outside the school gym by a school administrator and taken to the school's office around 1 p.m. on Sept. 24.
"The school system said he became ill and fell inside the school.
"The boy, identified as Darius Clark, was taken to Johns Hopkins Pediatric Hospital. He died Tuesday night after spending five days in the hospital."
From The Baltimore Sun: New Maryland Law Allows for Blanket Prescription for Heroin Overdose Drug
"Thousands of people have been trained to use a drug that prevents heroin overdoses, but many have faced a hurdle to obtaining naloxone — a doctor's prescription.
"Under a Maryland law that takes effect Thursday, doctors at local health departments around the state can write a blanket prescription that covers anyone who is trained on how to administer the drug, also known as Narcan. They simply need to present a card at the pharmacy showing they had been taught by a state-certified trainer.
"Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen lauded the law Wednesday as a way to more widely distribute the lifesaving drug and curb the number of overdose deaths. Last year, 303 people in Baltimore died from overdoses, and most had taken opioids. Statewide, 578 deaths were attributed to heroin last year, compared with 464 the previous year.
"About 4,000 Baltimore residents have received training this year to administer Narcan, which blocks the effects of opioids and stops respiratory depression during an overdose."
From The Washington Post: Maryland Gun-Control Advocates Push for Nationwide Adoption of State’s Handgun Law
"U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh on Wednesday called for other states to join Maryland in requiring licenses to purchase handguns, saying the rule works best to stem gun violence when it applies across jurisdictions.
"During a news conference with other gun-control advocates at a Baltimore County courthouse, the officials said that firearms tend to flow from states that lack permit-to-purchase laws to those that have them, with guns often landing in the hands of criminals.
"Ten states and the District of Columbia have licensing requirements for handguns, but the Maryland border states of Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Virginia do not.
"Jenifer Pauliukonis, legislative chair of Marylanders to Prevent Gun Violence, said at the news conference that Maryland’s statute should serve as a model for states across the nation. 'The country deserves more than a couple of states having common-sense gun laws,' she said."