Number 16: Great-grandmother accuses San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment
The body count is steadily inceasing for San Diego Mayor Bob “I-will-not-resign” Filner, who now has 16 women accusing him in often graphic detail of sexual harrassment. The latest is a great grandmother:
A great-grandmother will hold a news conference with attorney Gloria Allred Thursday afternoon, alleging she is a sexual harassment victim of Mayor Bob Filner.
A news release stated the senior citizen was the “victim of continuous inappropriate sexual advances by the Mayor while trying to do her job at City Hall.”
Allred said the woman worked at the Senior Citizens Service Desk in the lobby of the City Administration Building.
The release said both Allred and the great-grandmother would address the media at 1:00 p.m. at the Westin in downtown San Diego.
The release also said Allred was the woman’s attorney, but it was not yet clear if the woman would be filing a lawsuit against Filner. If so, that would be the second sexual harassment lawsuit against the mayor — the first was filed by Filner’s former communications director Irene McCormack Jackson.
Earlier Thursday, attorney Kathryn Vaughn became the 15th woman to come forward with sexual harassment accusations against Filner.
Vaughn told a local media outlet that she encountered Filner, then a congressman, at a public event about 10 years ago.
“He made an inappropriate movement on my body, yes,” Vaughn said when asked if she was groped. She said she “let it go, and moved on” instead of reporting the incident.[10 News]
Basically, the portrait that’s emerging is that Filner made full use of his status as Mayor (and according to some allegations in reports as a Congressman, but people in DC merely shrugged perhaps figuring that’s the way all members of Congress act). He seems “stuck on stupid” — and also a character right out of “Mad Men.”
OTHER MUST READS:
—The Atlantic’s How Do You Solve a Problem Like Bob Filner?
The Democratic Party of San Diego needs better lawyers. Or rather, it should have used the lawyers it has.
In 2011, at least three women warned the head of the San Diego County Democratic Party of stories in the community about then-Rep. Bob Filner making inappropriate advances toward professional women with whom he’d come in contact through his political position.
Former California State Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, San Diego County Democratic Central Committee member Martha Sullivan, and Escondido City Council member Olga Diaz all brought uncomfortable incidents to the attention of Jess Durfee, who was until the end of 2012 Democratic Party chairman for San Diego, the eighth-largest city in America.
What happened next illustrates the enormous challenge the situation presented to local Democrats, who were looking to Filner as their best shot at retaking the mayor’s seat in the heavily Republican community for the first time since 1992. It also reveals the party’s short-sighted and ultimately self-destructive failure to do due diligence on the accusations, which were presented to the party secondhand and yet failed to trigger any kind of substantive investigation, or even an intra-party conversation with a lawyer.
Many San Diegan’s still don’t automatically think of a political party when they elect a mayor. But this will give a huge black eye to the Democrats locally and nationally:
San Diego Democrats are now devastated that they put the party’s local revival in Filner’s hands, tainting it for who knows how long. National Republicans are gleeful at a chance to try to turn the tables on the Democrats’ “War on Women” talking point, roping Filner together with deeply unpopular New York mayoral hopeful Anthony Weiner and others to try to create a national narrative about Democratic political hypocrisy on women.
As Filner fights a recall effort and rumors swirl that he’s working on negotiated exit from office as part of his response to a sexual harassment lawsuit from his former communications director — along with accusations of inappropriate behavior from 13 other women — Republicans and Democrats alike are asking themselves how his behavior could have gone unchecked for so long.
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