New Jersey Landlord Gave Tenants Two Options: Have Sex Or Face Eviction
A New Jersey landlord is being accused of making tenants who couldn't afford rent have sex with him in a bizarre sexual solicitation plot.
Joseph Centanni was arrested back in June 2021, though he was not indicted until Thursday. The Union County Prosecutor's Office says the now 75-year-old spent years forcing male and female tenants to have sex with him in exchange for rent discounts. In some cases, tenants facing eviction were faced with homelessness if they did not give in to his sexual demands.
This latest years-long investigation conducted by the Elizabeth Police Department and led by the Prosecutor's Office's Special Victims Unit uncovered that Centanni sexually assaulted his tenants from at least 2013 up until 2020. His victims ranged in age from 22 to 61 and lived in various units across his hundreds of rental properties. Centanni would often offer financial assistance to those struggling.
Centanni is currently free on bail but has been ordered to wear a pretrial monitor. He faces a mountain of charges outlined in his 42-count indictment, including 19 counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual contact and 23 counts of second-degree sexual assault.
While the most recent indictment only accounts for instances from 2013, Centanni has been abusing his authority for many years. The filthy landlord had agreed to a $4.5 million settlement in December 2021 to settle a Fair Housing Act complaint that sought to shield tenants from harassment and discrimination. In the lawsuit, it was claimed that for more than 15 years, Centanni had sexually harassed vulnerable renters.
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