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Indianapolis landlord accused of soliciting sex from furloughed tenant reaches settlement

 An Indianapolis landlord accused of asking a female tenant to have sex with him to cover her rent after she had been furloughed from work amid the pandemic has reached a settlement with the woman.  

Henry Long, who is the landlord of several rental properties in Indianapolis, was sued by the woman, Abigail Savage, and the housing nonprofit Fair Housing Center of Central Indiana in federal court in August this year. In October he agreed to pay $45,900 to resolve the lawsuit, according to the consent decree reached by both parties.

As part of the consent decree, Long will no longer be able to interact directly with current or potential tenants. He agreed to contract a property manager to work with tenants.

“With a worldwide pandemic underway, renters, now more than ever, should not have to experience such harmful discrimination in the comfort of their own homes,”  Brady Ripperger, a director at the housing nonprofit, said in a prepared statement. “Sexual harassment in any housing-related  transaction  is  unlawful under fair housing laws and should be addressed immediately.”

IndyStar left a voicemail Monday with Long’s lawyer requesting comment. According to the consent decree, Long denied all of the allegations. In the original complaint, text messages attributed to Long characterized the situation as a misunderstanding.

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In their complaint, Savage alleged that Long sent her a series of messages suggesting that they have sex after Savage said she wouldn't be able to pay for April’s rent this year because she had been furloughed from her food and beverage industry job.

“I love your honesty...and I don’t want to put you in a situation..but I’m in a mortgage payment due and property taxes due...let’s figure this out together,” Long wrote according to the lawsuit.

Long then asked Savage if she had a ride, which Savage interpreted to mean a form of transportation to bring him rent money. She said yes. 

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