Breaking News: A Sober Living House Owner in Boston, Massachusetts Allegedly Waives Rent in Exchange for Sexual Favors from Residents

Breaking News: A Sober Living House Owner in Boston, Massachusetts Allegedly Waives Rent in Exchange for Sexual Favors from Residents

According to a lawsuit filed by the United States Attorney’s Office, a Massachusetts sober homeowner sexually harassed female recovery home residents by offering to lower or waive rent, award more housing privileges, or waive security deposits in exchange for sexual activities.


Waive rent in exchange for the explicit images

“Peter McCarthy of Dorchester, who is also identified as a Lynn resident by federal prosecutors, wanted sexually explicit photographs,” the US Attorney’s Office said in a statement. He stated that he would lower or waive rent in exchange for the images. McCarthy also made inappropriate sexual remarks and retaliated against residents who reported his behavior, according to the statement. 

McCarthy maintained seven recovery house facilities, totaling around 85 beds, through Steps to Solutions  in several Massachusetts areas, including Lynn and Boston. According to the lawsuit, he previously owned seven additional properties. 

The sober living residences were exclusively for addicts in recovery. According to the case, the dwellings were not licensed, financed, or regulated by the state, and the defendants rented out rooms on a month-to-month or shorter-term basis. 

“It is disappointing that a landlord who is supposed to be helping vulnerable women beat drug addiction was allegedly sexually harassing them and offering to reduce their rent in exchange for sex,” Acting United States Attorney Nathaniel R. Mendell stated.  “Thankfully, the Fair Housing Act gives us effective tools to stop such despicable conduct and protect those who are being preyed upon. People who have experienced this kind of sexual harassment might be reluctant to report it, but we need to hear from them. Reporting sexual harassment is essential to stop and prevent sexual harassment.” 


The Lawsuit

According to the lawsuit, McCarthy stated in 2016 that a female renter would not have to provide a security deposit if she instead engaged in sexual acts with him.

“This female sober house resident moved out the day after her arrival because of McCarthy’s request,” court filings state. 

A year later, a female resident requested an overnight permit from McCarthy in order to spend the night at her mother’s house and visit her daughter. 

In response to the request, McCarthy said words to the effect of, ‘Sure, if you make me breakfast on Sunday morning,’ which she understood to mean that she could get the overnight pass if she spent the night and engaged in sexual activity with McCarthy,” court documents state. He also suggested their children could play together while they ‘hooked up.” 

McCarthy also sent sexually explicit text messages to a female resident, including “[your] body looks good to me,” “don’t hide that body,” and “send me a shower picture,” according to the lawsuit. 

“The experiences of these female tenants were not isolated instances,”  court filings allege.  “Rather, these instances were part of Defendant McCarthy’s longstanding pattern or practice of illegal sexual harassment of numerous female tenants.”


Read more: Police in Bath and Brunswick, Maine Work with PARRI for One2One Addiction Recovery


History of McCarthy

McCarthy was also a registered sexual offender in Massachusetts from 2004 to December 2015. 

According to the Boston Herald, city officials labeled one of the Dorchester apartment complexes where McCarthy maintained a sober house a “problem property” in 2012. 

McCarthy earlier told the publication, “We run a tight ship here.”  “Go in these units, go in the tenants’ units, and tell me who’s doing right here.” 

McCarthy founded Steps to Solutions, according to the website, as a result of his “personal experiences on the road to recovery.” 

The website claims, “I am actively able to be accountable in all areas of my life as a result of being in the solution.” I have dedicated my life to a program of recovery. I have learned to be of selfless service. This is doing the right thing for the right reason with no questions asked. I am proud to be a man of integrity and honor today and I look forward to being able to help you on this path. “ 

The United States Attorney’s Office stated that it is now hopeful that this case will avoid such incidents in the future. 

“The US Attorney’s Office stated in a statement that the lawsuit seeks a court order to prevent future discriminatory conduct, monetary damages to compensate victims of McCarthy’s conduct, and civil penalties. 


 You are not alone if you are a victim of sexual assault. 

In Massachusetts, rape crisis centers provide free, confidential services to teenage and adult survivors, as well as their family members. 

A crisis center’s toll-free hotline is available 24 hours a day for phone therapy, queries, and referrals. Click here for a complete list of regional crisis centers. 

SafeLink maintains a toll-free hotline that is available 24 hours a day: 

 TTY: (877) 785-2020


Vanderburgh House was formed with the goal of creating recovery-focused communities that are dedicated to the success of each member. Our homes provide a structured and recovery-focused sober living environment, headed by caring House Managers who are committed to assisting our clients in rebuilding their lives free of drugs and alcohol.

The majority of our houses are run by independent Owner/Operators who collaborate with Vanderburgh House to provide sober living in their own areas. As a member of our collaborative of sober living Operators, Vanderburgh Communities provides Charters to Operators who want to manage their own sober living home in conjunction with us. If you have a dream of opening your own sober home, now is the time to pursue it! We urge you to join us for a meeting to learn more about this exciting chance to help your community.

We are honored to be one of the original members of the national Sober House Directory, a resource for finding the right match and locating sober living homes near you. If a Vanderburgh House home is not the appropriate fit for you, we invite you to look into this great resource for finding the proper sober living home.


Read more on how University of Hartford, Connecticut Research on Sober Living Impact.



References 

  1. The lawsuit states the Mass. sober home owner offered to forgive rent in exchange for sexual acts.  Heather Morrison can be reached at [email protected] .Published at 2:54 p.m. on August 11, 2021.