October 1, 2023

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Lawsuit alleges WA genuine estate firm understood of drugging, sexual assault

5 min read

A Bellingham-centered genuine estate brokerage faces accusations that it understood two of its male agents drugged and sexually assaulted woman co-personnel during work occasions.

In a civil lawsuit filed in federal courtroom in California very last week, four women say two eXp Realty brokers drugged and assaulted them — or tried to assault them — at networking and recruitment functions in California and Nevada concerning 2018 and 2020. A number of women of all ages say they alerted the business, in accordance to the criticism. 

Private aid for survivors

If you have professional sexual assault and will need assistance, you can simply call the 24-hour Countrywide Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673). There is also an on the web chat solution.

Survivors in King County can contact the King County Sexual Assault Useful resource Center’s 24-hour Source Line at 888-99-VOICE (888-998-6423) or stop by www.kcsarc.org/gethelp.

The criticism names eXp Realty, its publicly traded mum or dad corporation, eXp World Holdings and the two male genuine estate agents. 

Jennifer Lenze, an attorney symbolizing the plaintiffs, reported eXp is “equally as accountable” as the individual agents named. The organization “knew or should really have recognized and prevented what happened to our plaintiffs from happening,” Lenze mentioned in an interview.

eXp Realty declined to comment, citing pending litigation. The two agents named as defendants did not return requests for remark.

The Seattle Times generally does not publicize the names of folks accused of crimes unless of course rates are filed.

In 2021, 1 of the men was arrested and charged with two counts of sexual assault similar to identical allegations, according to community media stories. Prosecutors later dismissed that case, saying they “received additional information and evidence that led us to consider that we simply cannot verify the expenses over and above a realistic question,” the Las Vegas Overview-Journal described. The guy is no extended an eXp agent, according to the grievance.

Just one of the 4 females bringing the circumstance, Florida genuine estate agent Fabiola Acevedo, is named in the grievance. The other people are referred to as Jane Doe.

Talking out with her name is “the only way I will assist other ladies to action ahead and heal,” Acevedo claimed in an interview. “It’s section of my healing approach, and it is significant for me to be equipped to conquer what has happened.”

Registered with an workplace address in Bellingham, eXp Realty states it has much more than 85,000 agents globally, like in Seattle, Tacoma and elsewhere in Washington.

Alongside with usual commissions, eXp presents agents incentives to recruit other agents. The company’s agents “sponsor” new agents and get a share of corporation commissions from all those new agents’ sales, according to eXp Realty’s site. If the new agents in flip recruit some others, their sponsor can make even far more. The business collects startup and ongoing service fees from brokers as perfectly as a part of agents’ commissions, according to the company’s internet site. 

According to the grievance, the two male agents labored to “entice” ladies “with the guarantee of occupation development and coaching.”

Acevedo said in the legal submitting that a single of the men recruited her to sign up for eXp and informed her she really should list the other as her sponsor agent. The agent also suggested she take part in a networking function with the second male in Southern California in July 2018. 

When Acevedo arrived at the resort for the party, she uncovered there was no place reserved for her, and the resort was sold out. The agent who experienced recruited her proposed Acevedo stay in the other male agent’s room, which experienced different beds, in accordance to the criticism. 

Acevedo reported she experienced just one cocktail with the 2nd male and some others at the hotel bar but doesn’t keep in mind nearly anything afterward till the upcoming morning. When she attempted to shower that early morning, the gentleman entered the bathroom naked, “exposing himself to her and attempting to engage her in inappropriate sexual speak to,” according to the grievance.

We would like to hear from you

Do you have expertise with eXp Realty? Get in contact with reporter Heidi Groover at [email protected] or on Signal at 208-651-8623.

The complaint also contains allegations from a few other gals, all real estate brokers from Tennessee, Florida and California.

Just one female attended an April 2019 networking function at a lodge in Beverly Hills,
California, “for the objective of learning during the day and recruiting real estate agents to join eXp Realty at night,” according to the criticism. 

For the duration of a group collecting in a resort space, one of the brokers handed her a consume and she blacked out until eventually the next early morning, in accordance to the complaint, which also aspects signals of sexual assault the female seasoned the up coming morning.

When she confronted the agent, he “repeatedly told her that she was ridiculous and that nothing at all occurred,” in accordance to the criticism. Later on, he “admitted that they did have sexual intercourse at the last occasion,” but “did not confess that he experienced drugged her,” the complaint states. 

The lady “considered at that point reporting him to the authorities but considered no just one would think her,” in accordance to the criticism. “She did confide in some close friends about what experienced transpired.”

Two other women described related situations at an eXp recruiting function in Las Vegas in August 2020. 

One lady explained she went to the two men’s suite for a team get-collectively and afterwards went on a stroll with a person of the adult males. Despite the fact that her memory is constrained, she “does recall becoming sexually assaulted” by the gentleman that night, in accordance to the grievance.

Another female explained she experienced a consume at a team gathering in the two male agents’ hotel suite just before leaving for dinner with mates, then could not bear in mind substantially of the rest of the evening. Soon after speaking with other individuals, she “realized that she was drugged/rendered incapacitated,” in accordance to the complaint. 

A number of ladies alerted eXp, the complaint alleges. Acevedo stated she explained to the present and previous CEOs of the corporation past yr about the 2018 incident. The two girls who had been in Las Vegas in 2020 “informed defendant eXp Realty about what took place to them” soon after it happened, in accordance to the grievance and the attorneys symbolizing the women.

The complaint claims eXp “elected to continue to overlook pleas from other eXp agents who’d been assaulted and gain from” the two male agents and their recruits.

The females are seeking a jury trial and nonetheless-to-be-identified damages.

The situation, submitted in United States District Court in the Central District of California, seeks damages for allegations together with negligent employing, retention and supervision, sexual battery and intercourse trafficking, simply because the two brokers allegedly encouraged ladies to cross state traces to attend functions.

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