Landlord Stanley Katz Sued by Feds over His Child-Rapist Building Super Demanding Sex from Tenants

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Child-rapist William Barnason: Strong candidate for Voice award as the city's Worst Building Super.
Federal prosecutors in New York filed a civil lawsuit today accusing Upper West Side landlord Stanley Katz and his building super William Barnason with sex discrimination, alleging that Barnason — a high-risk sex offender convicted of raping children — routinely tried to demand sex from female tenants in exchange for reduced rent. He allegedly threatened to evict tenants who didn't comply.

Katz and Barnason are both accused of being responsible for sexual harassment. Katz employed Barnason as a super for eight years for these three buildings: 144 West 73rd Street, 140 West 75th Street, and 142 West 75th Street. The landlord fired Barnason only after the Post's Dan Mangan broke the story on February 1. Barnason had served 14 years in prison for raping and sodomizing three Long Island girls, ages 5 to 7.

According to the complaint filed by the Southern District U.S. Attorney's Office, Barnason groped female tenants and demanded sex in exchange for rent reductions. Barnason, who had keys to all the tenants' apartments, would show up drunk demanding sex, the suit alleges, and when his demands weren't met, he would deny the tenants their mail, as well as basic repairs. In addition, the suit contends, Barnason would "yell obscenities at tenants who would not comply with his sexual demands."

Katz's attorney told the Gothamist in February that the landlord had only recently learned about Barnason's criminal record. Prosecutors, however, claim that Katz was well aware of Barnason's conduct, and even after multiple complaints, "refused to take meaningful steps to address it."

The suit was filed under the Fair Housing Act, which bans gender discrimination. The prosecutors noted that President Barack Obama had declared April to be National Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

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