St. James told to 'pause' eviction of trans woman

  • by John Ferrannini, Assistant Editor
  • Wednesday April 5, 2023
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A transgender woman has complained she's being told to vacate her transitional housing provided by St. James Infirmary after refusing to go to a sex club with staffers. Photo: John Ferrannini
A transgender woman has complained she's being told to vacate her transitional housing provided by St. James Infirmary after refusing to go to a sex club with staffers. Photo: John Ferrannini

St. James Infirmary has been instructed to "pause" the eviction of a trans woman from a transitional housing facility as an investigation into her claims of sexual retaliation against the nonprofit proceed, the Bay Area Reporter has learned.

As the B.A.R. reported last week, Blanche Kriege, 31, said she is being kicked out of the Bobbie Jean Baker House in San Francisco's Mission neighborhood after refusing to accompany two St. James workers to a sex club. (The B.A.R. is not naming the two accused staffers because no criminal charges have been filed.)

Kriege had initially incorrectly said in an on the record interview that she was to be kicked out by the end of last month. She stated April 4 that the date she'd always been given was April 8. According to a March 29 email from Tyler Rougeau, an attorney at the shelter client advocates program with the Eviction Defense Collaborative, which Kriege shared with the B.A.R., the city has instructed St. James "to — at a minimum — 'pause' your exit and not proceed until the matter can be discussed."

Rougeau has yet to respond to the B.A.R.'s request for comment, but a spokesperson for the city's mayoral housing office has confirmed "that the program exit has been paused while the investigation is ongoing."

As for Kriege, she told the B.A.R., "I consider this a profound success," though she does want more clarity on what the pause means.

Last month, the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development had ordered St. James Infirmary to investigate Kriege's claim. Anita "Durt" O'Shea, the chief operating officer of St. James, had confirmed the existence of the investigation to the B.A.R. last week.

"St. James has hired a third-party investigator to investigate this grievance," O'Shea had stated, adding that "because it is an active investigation I cannot comment on it."

Attorney Karen Carrera, the third-party investigator, has not responded to a request for comment. O'Shea has not responded to an additional request for comment regarding the order to pause evicting Kriege.

Carrera has contacted Kriege to set up a time to interview her. Meanwhile, Kriege told the B.A.R. she has not heard anything from St. James on the eviction pause.

"We don't have any proof that they're complying with the mayor's office's order," Kriege said.

Kriege is also upset that her police report "was never fully processed" and has contacted the San Francisco branch of the FBI. She said she had filed a report with the San Francisco Police Department in February after receiving "heavy breathing voicemails" in the early morning hours of February 5 from the first St. James employee's phone number.

When asked, SFPD Public Information Officer Niccole Pacchetti told the B.A.R., "We are unable to locate an incident report with the information you have provided." When asked about SVU not getting back to Kriege, SFPD told the B.A.R. that a computer automated dispatch number is not enough to find a documented incident to refer to.

The FBI's San Francisco office stated to the B.A.R., "We aren't able to comment on this particular matter, as we cannot comment on the existence or nature of witness or victim statements to protect the privacy of those individuals and the integrity of potential investigations."

Nonetheless, "The FBI encourages all members of the public to report any suspected crime, threat of violence, or the violation of lawfully-protected rights. All tips can remain anonymous. The FBI takes the privacy and civil rights of all individuals very seriously and in accordance with federal law," the agency continued.

Anne Stanley, communications manager for MOHCD, told the B.A.R. that the city has not given St. James a deadline of when the investigation has to wrap up.

"MOHCD has not dictated a deadline," Stanley stated. "The investigation is ongoing and we are unable to comment on a timeline for when it will be completed."

MOHCD funds the Our Trans Home initiative to the tune of $900,000 per year, including funding of the Bobbi Jean Baker House "and a team of housing navigators that provide housing stability case management to program participants," Stanley told the B.A.R.

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