Lawsuit alleges WA real estate firm knew of drugging, sexual assault

A Bellingham-based mostly serious estate brokerage faces accusations that it realized two of its male agents drugged and sexually assaulted female co-workers for the duration of operate events.

In a civil lawsuit submitted in federal courtroom in California past 7 days, 4 women of all ages say two eXp Realty agents drugged and assaulted them — or tried to assault them — at networking and recruitment events in California and Nevada in between 2018 and 2020. Numerous women of all ages say they alerted the organization, according to the criticism. 

Confidential help for survivors

If you have professional sexual assault and require support, you can phone the 24-hour Nationwide Sexual Assault Phone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (800-656-4673). There is also an on the web chat possibility.

Survivors in King County can connect with the King County Sexual Assault Source Center’s 24-hour Source Line at 888-99-VOICE (888-998-6423) or stop by

The grievance names eXp Realty, its publicly traded mum or dad enterprise, eXp Planet Holdings and the two male actual estate agents. 

Jennifer Lenze, an legal professional representing the plaintiffs, explained eXp is “equally as accountable” as the unique agents named. The enterprise “knew or must have regarded and prevented what occurred to our plaintiffs from taking place,” Lenze mentioned in an interview.

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

The Seattle Occasions commonly does not publicize the names of persons accused of crimes except if rates are filed.

In 2021, 1 of the adult men was arrested and billed with two counts of sexual assault linked to identical allegations, in accordance to community media experiences. Prosecutors later on dismissed that situation, saying they “received supplemental facts and evidence that led us to feel that we can’t demonstrate the charges beyond a fair question,” the Las Vegas Critique-Journal claimed. The male is no for a longer period an eXp agent, according to the grievance.

One of the 4 girls bringing the scenario, Florida serious estate agent Fabiola Acevedo, is named in the criticism. The other folks are referred to as Jane Doe.

Talking out with her identify is “the only way I will support other girls to stage ahead and mend,” Acevedo explained in an job interview. “It’s element of my healing procedure, and it is crucial for me to be capable to get over what has occurred.”

Registered with an place of work handle in Bellingham, eXp Realty claims it has more than 85,000 agents all over the world, together with in Seattle, Tacoma and somewhere else in Washington.

Alongside with standard commissions, eXp delivers brokers incentives to recruit other agents. The company’s agents “sponsor” new brokers and get a share of enterprise commissions from people new agents’ product sales, according to eXp Realty’s website. If the new brokers in switch recruit other folks, their sponsor can make even more. The enterprise collects startup and ongoing expenses from agents as perfectly as a portion of agents’ commissions, in accordance to the company’s web-site. 

In accordance to the complaint, the two male agents labored to “entice” ladies “with the guarantee of profession advancement and coaching.”

Acevedo mentioned in the lawful filing that one of the adult males recruited her to be part of eXp and told her she need to listing the other as her sponsor agent. The agent also suggested she participate in a networking celebration with the second man in Southern California in July 2018. 

When Acevedo arrived at the hotel for the event, she uncovered there was no area reserved for her, and the resort was offered out. The agent who had recruited her recommended Acevedo remain in the other male agent’s home, which had individual beds, according to the complaint. 

Acevedo claimed she had a person cocktail with the 2nd male and some others at the lodge bar but does not remember everything afterward until eventually the future early morning. When she attempted to shower that early morning, the gentleman entered the lavatory bare, “exposing himself to her and trying to engage her in inappropriate sexual get hold of,” in accordance to the criticism.

We would like to listen to from you

Do you have working experience with eXp Realty? Get in touch with reporter Heidi Groover at [email protected] or on Sign at 208-651-8623.

The complaint also consists of allegations from 3 other females, all serious estate brokers from Tennessee, Florida and California.

Just one lady attended an April 2019 networking event at a hotel in Beverly Hills,
California, “for the objective of discovering for the duration of the working day and recruiting authentic estate agents to be part of eXp Realty at night time,” according to the complaint. 

All through a team accumulating in a hotel area, 1 of the brokers handed her a consume and she blacked out till the future early morning, according to the complaint, which also aspects indicators of sexual assault the girl experienced the up coming morning.

When she confronted the agent, he “repeatedly explained to her that she was outrageous and that nothing at all took place,” according to the complaint. Afterwards, he “admitted that they did have sex at the final event,” but “did not confess that he experienced drugged her,” the criticism suggests. 

The woman “considered at that level reporting him to the authorities but imagined no a person would feel her,” in accordance to the grievance. “She did confide in some good friends about what had transpired.”

Two other women explained identical gatherings at an eXp recruiting party in Las Vegas in August 2020. 

One particular female reported she went to the two men’s suite for a team get-collectively and afterwards went on a stroll with a single of the adult men. Although her memory is confined, she “does recall getting sexually assaulted” by the man that night time, according to the grievance.

Another female said she had a consume at a group gathering in the two male agents’ resort suite just before leaving for dinner with pals, then could not bear in mind a great deal of the rest of the night. Following conversing with other people, she “realized that she was drugged/rendered incapacitated,” according to the complaint. 

Several women of all ages alerted eXp, the criticism alleges. Acevedo stated she advised the latest and previous CEOs of the corporation previous calendar year about the 2018 incident. The two females who were in Las Vegas in 2020 “informed defendant eXp Realty about what transpired to them” shortly just after it happened, in accordance to the grievance and the lawyers symbolizing the women.

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

The women are trying to get a jury demo and nonetheless-to-be-decided damages.

The circumstance, submitted in United States District Courtroom in the Central District of California, seeks damages for allegations together with negligent using the services of, retention and supervision, sexual battery and intercourse trafficking, due to the fact the two brokers allegedly inspired women of all ages to cross state strains to go to gatherings.

Francis McGee

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