- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 1, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Three women have sued a New Mexico motel owner and the director of the halfway house where they lived, saying they were repeatedly sexually assaulted at work and threated with being sent back to prison when they complained.

In the lawsuit, the women say they were assigned by Cindy Hannan, who ran New Life Recovery House in Alamogordo, to work at a nearby Super 8 Motel where they were harassed, subjected to lewd conduct and inappropriately touched by owner Victor Chevdawala.

Hannan threatened to send the women back to prison when they complained, according to court documents. As part of their release, the women had to follow her rules on employment.

“Hannan persisted in sending young, attractive residents to the Super 8 when she knew that defendant Chevdawala was perverted and would engage in conduct grossly unacceptable in the workplace,” the lawsuit said.

Hannan said Wednesday she didn’t know about the lawsuit.

“I heard there were scandals at the Super 8, but I haven’t been involved in any. I guess I need a lawyer now,” she said.

Chevdawala declined to comment. His lawyer, Bert Atkins, didn’t immediately return a phone message.

A spokeswoman for the Wyndham Hotel Group, the parent company of Super 8, didn’t immediately return an email seeking comment.

Tim Chelpaty, an attorney representing the women, said two women who complained eventually were sent back to prison.

“These women have suffered irreparable harm,” he said. The Associated Press does not identify people who say they have been sexually assaulted.

The women seek an unspecified amount for damages in the lawsuit filed last week in state district court in Las Cruces.

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