Union leader Glenard S. Middleton called Thursday for a "full investigation" into the Housing Authority of Baltimore City, following allegations some maintenance workers demanded sex from female residents to make repairs.
Middleton, director of Maryland Council 67 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, said workers that break the law must be held accountable. The union represents more than 500 workers, supervisors and administrative officials employed by the housing agency.
He said the union is "appalled" by the allegations. Eleven women have signed on to a federal lawsuit that prompted a criminal investigation by city prosecutors.
"AFSCME does not condone any illegal or inappropriate conduct," Middleton said in a statement. "While the vast majority of workers abide by the rules and provide critical services, and we will aggressively defend due process rights, anyone who breaks the law must be held accountable for their actions.
"We welcome an open, exhaustive and transparent investigation that will deliver justice to the residents we proudly serve."
Middleton didn't call for any specific group to investigate.
Cary J. Hansel and Annie B. Hirsch, attorneys representing the women, said they welcome AFSCME's call for an investigation.
"Our office and the victims have opened dialogues with the Office of the State's Attorney, the local chapter of the union, grass-roots organization Communities United, and the Housing Authority itself, all of whom are investigating," according to a statement from the attorneys.
"We call on anyone affected to contact us for help. We are in the process of building a broad coalition of partners and coordinating the efforts of government and community groups to seek justice. Our motto is Public Justice for Public Housing."