BOSTON (CBS) – A Massachusetts veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan has filed a civil rights lawsuit against an anti-war activist who declined to rent him an apartment.
Sgt. Joel Morgan, 29, tried to rent a two-bedroom apartment in the Savin Hill section of Dorchester from 63-year-old Janice Roberts.
“I’ve been deployed so many times, I really haven’t had much of a home,” he told WBZ-TV.
Morgan didn’t get the apartment.
According to the lawsuit, Roberts told Morgan his war service and her peace activism presented a “conflict of interest.”
“Because of what you told me about the Iraq war… we are very adamant about our beliefs… it’s just not comfortable for us… and I’m sure now that you know this, it would not be comfortable for you,” Roberts said in a voicemail to Morgan.
“I would suggest you do the right thing and look for a place less politically active or controversial.”
The divorced father has a young son and is training to be a Boston firefighter so he needs to live in town.
He was shocked and confused and that led him to sue.
“I’ve never been in that situation (being turned down for an apartment), so it was like, ‘I don’t understand what you mean, I just want to give you a check and rent an apartment,” Morgan told WBZ-TV.
“(It) just really, really disgusted me,” he said.
“It really freaked me out that ‘Is this what I’m going to be facing? Should I not let people know that I’m a combat vet?’”
WBZ was not able to reach Roberts for comment.
Military service members and veterans are part of a protected class in Massachusetts and, therefore, they cannot be discriminated against.
Morgan has since found another apartment to rent.