Eagle County rental property owner settles sexual assault and harassment lawsuit for $300,000

Prosecutors alleged the property owner subjected a family to repeated sexual assault and harassment in 2019 and 2020
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Posted at 12:22 PM, Jun 11, 2024

DENVER — An Eagle County rental property owner has settled for $300,000 with a family who accused her of sexual assault and harassment during a two-year period while living under one of her properties, a spokesperson with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announced Monday.

The settlement stems from a lawsuit filed by the family with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which alleged that Kathryn Butters, the owner of the rental renal property in Eagle County and a member of Butters Investments, LLC, “repeatedly made unannounced visits to the victim family’s home, during which she made unwanted sexual comments and contact with four family members, including a male child who was only eleven or twelve years old at the time of the events and another male child who was only ten years old at the time.”

The complaint also alleges that Butters also made inappropriate comments to the family, including referencing the genitals of one of the children, slapping both parents’ buttocks, and grabbing the children’s genitals, the spokesperson said, conduct that fell under housing discrimination based on sex in violation of the Fair Housing Act.

An investigation into the allegations then began, after which the HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity found reasonable cause that discrimination based on sex had occurred, the spokesperson said. The Department of Justice then filed a complaint in U.S. District Court of Colorado on the family’s behalf.

“Sexual harassment in housing is particularly egregious because people deserve to feel safe in their homes,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Matt Kirsch. “We are committed to protecting tenants who are subjected to sexual assault and harassment, and we will continue to work with HUD to hold accountable landlords and property managers who violate the Fair Housing Act.”

In addition to the settlement, Butters agreed not to have contact with residential housing tenants in the future and will have to complete fair housing training, which will be monitored by the U.S. Attorney’s Office under the court’s order.

“Absolutely no one, including families with children, should ever have to worry about being sexually harassed by their landlord or property manager,” said Demetria L. McCain, HUD’s Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. “HUD’s investigation and charge, which resulted in today’s settlement, should serve as notice that this type of behavior is illegal and will not be tolerated.”

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