published Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Landlord sued for repeated sexual battery

The tenant of a 72-year-old local landlord claims the man came to her duplex month after month and groped her as he collected the rent.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Hamilton County Circuit Court, Sarah Hurst said landlord Colman Hochman began groping her one month after she and her boyfriend moved into the Eucalyptus Drive duplex in January 2010.

The monthly visits escalated over time from touching her clothes to Hochman reaching up her shirt in front of her 3-year-old child, Hurst's sister and a female friend, the lawsuit states.

"Several times I pushed this man off of me," Hurst, 31, said in a phone interview Friday. "And he still would not stop."

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages for "battery and emotional distress," court costs and attorney's fees.

Reached by phone Friday, Hochman said he knew of the lawsuit but had not yet read through it. Hochman said he recently reported Hurst to the Tennessee Department of Children's Services for neglecting her daughter and he suspected the complaint was Hurst's retaliation.

"It'd be better for me to read the complaint before I comment on it," he said.

Hurst said she has very little money and worried that Hochman might evict her if she complained. She's still living in Hochman's duplex, but said she is trying to find a new place to live.

Hurst runs an escort service called "Personal Encounters," which has been listed in the Chattanooga Times Free Press classified section since June.

Hochman said he knew of the escort business but did not talk with Hurst about it and assumed it was being run from outside the duplex.

The lawsuit states that Hochman arrived at Hurst's duplex to collect the rent each month from January 2010 to May 2010 and touched Hurst each time.

The lawsuit questions why Hochman came to the property in person to collect rent when he had an office.

Hochman said he has been in the rental business for 30 years and estimated he currently has 100 tenants. Some tenants don't have bank accounts or transportation, he said.

"I do a fair amount of collecting from individual tenants," Hochman said. "About a dozen, I collect by hand."

Hamilton County property records show 30 properties listed under Hochman or Hochman Family Partners. The partnership also is named in the lawsuit.

Hochman said he did not remember being the target of this kind of complaint from any tenants in the past. Circuit Court records do not show any lawsuits filed in Hamilton County against Hochman other than Hurst's complaint.

In June, the complaint states, Hurst told her ex-boyfriend, Ronald Ragsdale, what had been happening. He confronted Hochman and the landlord apologized, agreeing that Ragsdale could pay the rent and he wouldn't visit Hurst again, according to the lawsuit.

Hurst admits she doesn't have a perfect past. Hamilton County court records show that she pleaded guilty in 2003 to possessing marijuana and in 2004 to possessing drug paraphernalia.

Five years ago, Hurst was arrested in East Ridge on a prostitution charge.

She said the incident was a misunderstanding. She had worked for a year as an escort and told her date that night she was not a prostitute, she said, but shortly after he put money on the table police burst through the door and arrested her.

She pleaded guilty and received a one-year suspended sentence, she said.

"I think even though I have had a criminal record it still doesn't give him the right to put his hands on me," she said.

about Todd South...

Todd South covers courts, poverty, technology, military and veterans for the Times Free Press. He has worked at the paper since 2008 and previously covered crime and safety in Southeast Tennessee and North Georgia. Todd’s hometown is Dodge City, Kan. He served five years in the U.S. Marine Corps and deployed to Iraq before returning to school for his journalism degree from the University of Georgia. Todd previously worked at the Anniston (Ala.) Star. Contact ...

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Nina said...

Clearly the woman is seeking revenge because Mr. Hochman is a well-to-do man with money and he called the FCS on her. If it was true she would have reported it the first time and moved! If this happen to me or most other women he would have drawn back a "nub".

February 7, 2011 at 1:02 p.m.
robertlee said...

I guess you have ALL of the facts in this case Nina, because clearly you have jumped to a conclusion about something you only have a small amount of knowledge about. How do you know that Mr Hochman didn't retaliate by evicting and calling the fcs after being confronted by a male family member of this victim. What about all of the other disadvantaged women he has did this to. YEAH STUPID there are more of them. But I guess in your world jumping to conclusions are the norm.

February 24, 2011 at 9:37 p.m.
TaylorUNTITLED said...

Did you ever think that some people can't snap their fingers and move wherever they want to? This woman has a criminal record, do you know how hard it is to find a home that will rent to someone with a criminal record even IF they've removed their self from that kind of environment. I know this woman personally and she's a great woman who would never lie about something like this and if you're so shallow minded that you can't clearly see that this man sexually assaulted Ms. Hurst because he's a man of power who believed no one would ever take her side because of her past. Have some respect, this woman is clearly a victim.

February 27, 2011 at 5:34 p.m.
julieanna320 said...

Nina, you are clearly a well-to-do woman with money with no criminal background and very good credit to make the statement that you did. Sarah Hurst on the other hand has a criminal history more than likely she has a low credit score and comes from a poor family. which is why Mr Hochman took advantage of her. Sarah Hurst is a victim which people may seem to think shes not becouse of her conviction of prostitution. But, the last time i checked they still have rights too. I believe her, every single word of it!! I noticed that alot of her criminal history was befor she had her daughter. People make mistakes, even very stupid mistakes. But, that dont make her a lier and that dont give coleman hochman the right to take advantage of that. since there are other women who have had the same missadvantage done to them for years, and years. they havent come forward becouse of shame, the same position sarah is in whatever reason it may be. PLEASE, come forward and help this lady.

March 2, 2011 at 8:37 a.m.
julieanna320 said...

And by the way, whenever i look up colman hochman family and partners. All i see is lawsuit after lawsuit. There are so many lawsuits agianst these people that I dont know how they even get people to rent from them. They are clearly slumlords besides the fact that Colman is a sexual prediter.Sarah Hurst, just a little note to you. Besides the sexual lawsuit agianst Colman Hochman family and partners, you probably also have a lawsuit for the conditions of the apartment as well. I understand how you feel and I have been in the same situation that you have been in, thats why im glad that you are takeing a stand agianst these people, becouse i never had the nobs to, as (Nina) put it. they are people who dont care about nothing but themselves and they sure dont care about their tenants, or their workers either. Sarah I prey for you, and you have hundreds of people preying for you to win this lawsuit.SO, PLEASE even if its a worker,another tennant,even a woman he has done this to. know matter if you have a criminal history or just ashamed and want to forget about it. This woman needs you to help her,and makeing a sexual prediter be know so he can never do this to another woman agian.And while he is trying to act inoccent.I looked up where he was arrested for solicitation of prostitution before, Mr prediter must have slimed his way out of that charge.I feel like that whole company or partnership should crash into the ground.

March 2, 2011 at 11:56 a.m.
julieanna320 said...

I prey that people are reading this

March 6, 2011 at 10:51 p.m.
julieanna320 said...

He grabed my hand and said that he had erectile disfuction and said that he just wanted to play with a woman sexually and get head. But told me that It wouldnt get hard. I jerked my hand away from him testicals and told him not to ever do that agian.

March 6, 2011 at 10:55 p.m.
julieanna320 said...

And by the way, I never even new about the family and partnership. He made me think that I was just renting from him alone.I had transportation, I could have mailed money orders.My daughters father called him and confronted him, he apologized and said that it would never happen agian. So Ronald told him from then on not to come to the apartment unless he was there as well. they made an agreement that Ronald would meet him somewhere and pay the rent like that, and if anything was went wrong with the apartment that they would come while he was there as well.the next month ronald called Mr Hochman to pay him the rent and he didnt answer. He came to the apartment with me there alone with my child, despite the agreement.We NEVER new of a partnership or anywhere to send money orders until on day a lady by the name of Alyse called and told us about it.Things started going wrong with the apt,ceiling leaking in hallway. mold and mildew on the ceiling in the hallway. the kithchen sink leaking. Ronald called colman several times about it. He wouldnt fix nothing. We even sent him a certified letter to them and still nothing got done. the cantral heat/air wasnt working. It got so bad that we decided to call one of his people that comes to fix stuff, the man informed us "Colman dont want us to do NOTHING for you, no matter how bad it is." so we stoped paying rent. In fact the first time he tryed to evict us it was an illegal eviction. The judge told him that the eviction notice wasnt even legal and dismissed the case. The last time he evicted us we went to court, he wanted me to pay him 4 months back rent,the rest of the lease and pay court costs. I took my camra and showed the judge the pics, she looked ay 2 of the 15 that i took and she terminated the lease. And basically I didnt have to pay the lease off, the back rent and colman payed court costs.So you can imagine how bad it was.The pipes in the whole building was very bad.And when he has people that come to fix anything, he has them do the cheapest job possible.The day we where moveing he had a company over there fixing all the pipework and plumming.5 people moved the last month that i was there, all with the same problems with the apartments as mine, exept for the sexual part.

March 7, 2011 at 5:22 p.m.
caudlewr said...

If the allegations against Coleman are true, why not file criminal charges? Could it be because there's no money in that and it's unlikely the State would pursue the charges. Anyone can file a civil suit. I believe we still have a presumption of innocence principle in this country.

I have rented from Mr. Hochman for 6 months now. He is a gentleman's gentleman in my opinion.

March 12, 2011 at 10:10 a.m.
julieanna320 said...

Clearly Nina doesnt no what the h-- she is talking about. Are you a phycologist Nina? What do tou know about women who have been sexually molested as a child, by 3 differant men for that matter, starting at an early age. Just becouse she is an escort now and has made some bad choices becouse of this. That does not give a sexual prediter the right to violate her repeatedly over and over agian after she reapeatedly rejected him and even had to get physical with to get him off of her. and by the way caulewr, are you a man or a woman. And I dont care or believe a word that just came out of your mouth becouse this idiot sexually assulted me in front of my 3 year old child for months and months. and the fact that he is completely denying it when I have a taped conversation with him basically admitting to it and other evedince as well. so, caulewr you are renting from a slumlord and enjoying it, are you slum or enjoying it. of course hes not going to try anything now STUPID,hes has too many lawsuits agianst him now to make any mistakes, IDIOT!!!!!!!

March 12, 2011 at 2:47 p.m.
julieanna320 said...

And you are a stupid uninformed and oppinated IDIOT!!!!! You have your oppinions and I have mine. by the time im done with this man, he will be a registered sex offinder....

March 12, 2011 at 2:53 p.m.
julieanna320 said...

Caulwer or whatever you call yourself. you moved into one of his places after my childs father and I confronted him about sexually assulting me. I dont know if you are a woman or a man. But do you realize that a gentlemens gentleman is a man who goes around haveing sex (trying to in my case) with alot of women?? Or, was you too STUPID to realize that?

March 13, 2011 at 8:13 p.m.
angiesmith said...


March 15, 2011 at 11:54 a.m.
angiesmith said...

I know of men like Colman who think that they can do whatever thay want to and get away with it. I have a female friend that knows him, he sexually grabbed her breast and butt, she continued to politely remove his hands and he still continued untul it got to the point to where she had to start pushing him away. He acted as if I wasnt even there the whole time. I know that Sarah Hurst runs an escort service, but that dont give anybody the right to defile her the way that he did and in front of a child at that!!

March 15, 2011 at 12:49 p.m.
angiesmith said...

Oh, and by the way there are no pending lawsuits agianst Coleman Hochman becouse he pays them all off.

March 16, 2011 at 2:50 a.m.
nick7li said...

We rented from him twice, the first time I was with my husband, the second time I was single and then my husband and I got back together slowly. It was during the time I was single that he was sooo friendly towards me. He did so many bad things to us and others. He didnt care if anyone knew or saw because with his daughter being an attorney and all of his money there was never anything that stuck or even linked him to any trouble it was all cleared. He is a slumlord and a horrible human being. He is selfish and greedy and a disgrace to Ringgold housing. I hope someone really makes him pay for all the bad he has done to people. He deserves no less!

May 10, 2011 at 12:20 p.m.
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