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More Women Come Forward In Sex-For-Repairs Allegations

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Settlement talks are set to begin in the Baltimore City public housing sex for repairs scandal. So far, 11 women have joined the federal lawsuit and more have come forward.

Derek Valcourt has more.

Attorneys in the case say they've interviewed more women who claim to be victims. So far, they're not officially part of the lawsuit.

At McCullough Homes, lawns are being mowed and walls are being washed ahead of Tuesday morning's visit by Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano, who has agreed to tour the property and meet with residents who have been complaining publicly about long-standing maintenance problems.

"Unhealthy, unsafe. It's unsafe; it's common," said Perry Hopkins.

Graziano's tour comes in the wake of this federal lawsuit in which housing maintenance employees are accused of demanding sex before repairing deplorable, even life-threatening, conditions inside public housing apartments.

Eleven women say they were forced to live with dangerous mold, no heat and rodent infestations, all because they rejected maintenance men's advances.

"We uncovered a union investigation, which found many, many more victims," said attorney Cary Hansel.

Hansel represents the women and says some housing officials were aware of the allegations and did nothing.

After the lawsuit was filed, Graziano did send a letter to all public housing residents urging any other potential victims to "report the harassment."

"This is totally unacceptable behavior and anybody who engages in it will be dealt with in the harshest of terms," said Graziano.

But for the women in the lawsuit, the ordeal isn't over.

"They're being harassed and physically threatened," said Hopkins.

Perry Hopkins is an activist with the group Communities United who says since coming forward, some victims have been intimidated.

"One of the victims had to relocate her daughter for her safety so she can continue to go to school," said Hopkins.

Both the city state's attorney's office and the federal housing and urban development inspector general are conducting their own investigation into the allegations.

According to our media partner, the Baltimore Sun, a judge has ordered a settlement conference between the city and the lawyers for the victims for January 12.

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