Another potential political scandal is brewing. Now, 70 year-old San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has been accused of sexual harassment by nine different women.
Filner’s former spokeswoman, Irene McCormack Jackson, was the first woman to file a lawsuit against him. She alleges that Filner harassed her, as well as other female colleagues, both verbally and physically during her employment. When the allegations first began, Filner admitted that he had “failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me.” Since Jackson’s accusation, victims have continued to speak up.
Alleged victim Emily Gilbert says that the five-term Congressman groped her at a fundraising event where she had been hired to sing. Gilbert bears a resemblance to Marilyn Monroe, and Filner addressed her as such the entire night, ending with: “I hope to see you again, Marilyn.” Gilbert reported the indecencies to her husband, but both felt “powerless” as Filner was the mayor.
Morgan Rose, a nonprofit group founder, has also stated that Filner harassed her. She was lobbying for Filner for her organization, which focuses on families who are affected by domestic violence. The two met at a restaurant, and Filner immediately made Rose feel uncomfortable. He allegedly put his arm around her, pinning her to the wall, and told her: “your eyes have bewitched me.”
A retired Navy rear admiral and San Diego’s former chief operating officer, Veronica “Ronne” Froman, claims that Filner touched her cheek, got very close to her, and asked : “do you have a man in your life?” She claims she felt “rattled” afterwards. So she told co-workers that she did not want to be left alone with him.
The director of government and military education at San Diego City College, Lisa Curtin, alleged that Filner took her hand and twisted her wedding ring on her finger, asking if it was real. She also claims he attempted to kiss her. When she turned her head from him, she says she felt his tongue graze her cheek.
Political consultant Laura Fink, president of the San Diego Port Tenants Association Sharon Berie-Cloward, a San Diego University dean Joyce Gattas, and businesswoman Patti Roscoe have all also accused Filner of inappropriate touching and comments, bringing the total number of Filner’s alleged victims to nine.
Filner has since asked the city to pay for his legal fees, but the city council voted against his request.
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