Salem landlord accused of peeping on tenants, assault

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SALEM, NHA Salem landlord spied on tenants through a bathroom vent and sexually and physically assaulted them, according to a police investigation into the complaints of three women.

On Wednesday, Oct. 6, Salem police arrested Paul Patti, 74, who turned himself in at the station.

Patti/SPD

Police charged Patti with seven accounts of simple assault, two counts of sexual assault, two counts of violation of privacy and one count of false imprisonment, all misdemeanors, according to Police Capt. Jason Smith.

“These incidents are related to Patti’s role as a landlord, renting rooms from an address on Townsend Ave.,” Smith said.

Manchester Ink Link will not publish the exact address in order to protect the identities of the alleged victims, some of whom still reside there.

On the afternoon of July 31, Patti allegedly made unwanted sexual advances to one of his female tenants while sitting on her bed, at one point attempting to put his hand down her pants during an impromptu massage and then, after she told him not to touch her any more, allegedly held her face, kissed her and touched her breast, according to a redacted arrest warrant affidavit provided by the Salem Police Department. 

At that point, the tenant told police she got up and left the apartment.

One tenant described Patti as “touchy-feely” and recounted a number of incidents, most recently one on Aug. 1, when Patti allegedly grabbed the tenant by the hand and pulled her after she repeatedly declined his request to hold her hand. She also said Patti slid his hand up her girlfriend’s leg toward her genitalia while helping her with something on the computer.

The girlfriend later confirmed this to police, and further alleged that he placed his hand on her genitals over her clothing. She said that Patti had allegedly staged the contact by placing a laptop on her lap and insisting he help her fill out a financial aid form while sitting closely next to her on his couch. He repeatedly ignored her efforts to get space from him, she said. Said she was afraid of reporting the incident because she “has nowhere else to go.” 

When they completed filling out the form, Patti allegedly tried to force a kiss, but the tenant ran to her room and stayed there for the rest of the night.

One tenant said she witnessed Patti peering at her through an elevated bathroom vent that connects to her bedroom during showers. She said Patti would have a view of the shower while using a step ladder to look through the vent.

The tenant didn’t know the exact dates this occurred on but believed it began in 2020 and happened as recently as June.

In another incident, Patti put a chair in a room to watch someone clean, and would point at a spot where she “clearly would have to bend over for and tell her that she had to clean it,” according to the arrest warrant written by Det. Jeffrey Czarnec. 

When police interviewed Patti about the allegations, he denied them, saying the tenants were “probably stretching the truth.” 

Czarnec said he found “multiple issues” with Patti’s story, and inconsistencies with how he characterized his relationship with his tenants.

Patti was released on personal recognizance bail and is due to be arraigned at Salem District Court on Oct. 15.