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Former handymen charged for allegedly demanding sexual favors for repairs

BALTIMORE -- A sexual extortion scandal rocked Baltimore's public housing authority with accusations that workers were forcing tenants to have sex in exchange for repairs, CBS Baltimore station WJZ-TV reports.

Now, the city State's Attorney's Office has filed charges against two of those workers. One told The Baltimore Sun that he was "set up."

Raw sewage bubbling up through pipes, no heat and even apartments infested with rodents - that's what women living in Baltimore public housing say they were forced to live in if they didn't perform sexual favors for maintenance workers.

The State's Attorney's Office announced a slew of charges against two of the workers, including fourth-degree sex offense.

"Well, I can't go into a lot of detail about the case because it is an open and pending case. However, the charges in this case -- like in all cases -- reflect our subsequent investigation and our obligation to apply the facts to the law," said Rochelle Ritchie of the State's Attorney's Office.

The two workers charged are Charles Coleman and Doug Hussy.

"They got it wrong," Hussy told The Baltimore Sun. "I never did anything to nobody."

In January, the Baltimore Housing Authority's top leader spoke up after the city reached a settlement in a multimillion-dollar lawsuit.

"Mistakes have been made here, and some of them have been very serious mistakes," Baltimore Housing Commissioner Paul Graziano said.

Initially, there were 19 women in that class-action lawsuit. Last month, more women were added, bringing the total number to 56.

"They left her in the house for two weeks straight - two weeks straight with no lights," said one man, whose mother is part of the class-action lawsuit against the city. "It was pretty hard. I had to talk her into it because I believe wrong is wrong."

Community advocates who have been pushing for change say the victims' voices are finally being heard.

"For once, those who have been entrusted, who have breached that trust, are now being held personally accountable," said Perry Hopkins of Communities United.

All of the workers named in the lawsuit were fired after the scandal came to light.

The housing authority has agreed to pay millions to the victims once the courts make the final approval.

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