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NYCHA Tenant Says She Was Sexually Harassed By Repairman, Agency Says She Can Move Out

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – For all the problems facing tenants of the New York City House Authority, Jennifer Calcano never thought sexual harassment in her Upper West Side home by a NYCHA repairman would be one of them.

"I go to lean over to get my phone on my bed, I have my son in my arms," Calcano said.

"The man says 'oh nice tattoo, can you pull your pants down so I can see?'"

He'd come to check on a leak and Calcano was suddenly petrified in her own apartment.

Jennifer Calcano (Credit: CBS2)

"I'm thinking how do I get this guy out of my house… I thought he would rape me."

The mother to three kids, including her one-year-old son Ethan, reported the incident to resident leader Cynthia Tibbs right away.

"I went straight to management and they immediately removed him and sent him to Brooklyn," Tibbs said.

Now, they say he's back working in the complex on West 90th Street with no explanation from the city. So a formal complaint was filed at NYCHA's offices last week. Calcano told CBS2 she was floored by the response she got in person.

"She says 'if you're that uncomfortable why don't you put in for a transfer,'" the Manhattan resident said.

"That should never be an alternative to transfer out, the alternative is to remove the employee while investigations are being done," Tibbs argued.

An agency spokesperson told CBS2's Jessica Layton the statement regarding moving is "in no way NYCHA policy."

Calcano also took CBS2 inside to show the mess that still needs to be repaired. Years worth of water damage and NYCHA neglect has caused crumbling walls and peeling paint.

Poor conditions in Jennifer Calcano's NYCHA apartment. (Credit: CBS2)

Unfortunately, Calcano is now afraid to call to get things fixed – worried NYCHA will send that same harassing repairman again.

NYCHA claims the "complaint is under investigation" and "acted swiftly upon receiving the complaint May 10."

"You can't believe anything NYCHA says anyway," the NYCHA tenant said.

Her next move may be a lawsuit against the beleaguered agency.

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