FORT SMITH, AR (KFSM) — A lawsuit has been filed against a large Fort Smith property management company after a dozen complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
According to the lawsuit, a maintenance worker at Trinity Multifamily Property Management is accused of sexually harassing and sexually assaulting multiple tenants.
The lawsuit alleges that the management company allowed the maintenance worker, who has not formally been charged with any crime, to keep his job at Southbrooke Apartments after multiple complaints of sexual harassment and sexual assault from several victims, including a 12-year-old girl. So far seven victims have come forward with allegations.
The maintenance worker has worked at Southbrooke Apartments for 16 years and is also employed at Fairway Apartments in Fort Smith, according to the lawsuit. As a maintenance worker, he has a set of master keys, giving him access to every apartment unit at Southbrooke. The worker has prior criminal convictions including Third Degree Battery and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
The complaints date back to May of 2015, according to the lawsuit. The first victim told both management and law enforcement that they were scared because the man had a master key to all of the apartments.
The lawsuit states that a manager at Southbrooke apartments allegedly told one of the victims that if they filed a formal complaint that they could be evicted. They also told a victim that the maintenance worker would not be fired, but a different employee would perform maintenance at their apartment.
The maintenance worker remained employed even after multiple complaints of sexual assault and entering tenant’s apartments without their permission were filed to both management and law enforcement.
In January of 2020, the worker went to a victim’s apartment to fix a heating system, where he assaulted the victim and told them “don’t say stop, don’t say stop,” according to the lawsuit.
When the victim told management, the manager began “complaining” about the number of people who had made similar reports about the maintenance worker, the lawsuit states.
In March of 2020, the maintenance worker took a polygraph test where it was determined he lied about sexually assaulting one of the victims. After he changed his story saying it was consensual, according to the lawsuit.
The lawsuit does not specify the amount of damages being sought by the victims but cites 12 different charges including Rape, Sexual Assault, Negligent Entrustment and Negligent Supervision and Retention.
5NEWS has reached out to Trinity Management for comment but they did not provide one at this time.
The maintenance worker’s identity has not been released at this time and no arrests have been made.
More information will be released as it becomes available.
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