Harassment claim made by third woman against Filner


By City News Service

A third woman stepped forward July 24 to accuse San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment, while a group of women military veterans announced that it has rescinded an invitation for the former congressman to speak at its conference next month.

According to KPBS, San Diego Unified School District psychologist Morgan Rose said she met with Filner in 2009 at a restaurant across from his congressional office to discuss her initiative dedicated to the well-being of America’s children.

She said that during their discussion, he told her your eyes have bewitched me’’ and moved next to her.

Rose said Filner tried to kiss her four times and only stopped when he received a phone call. She told the station that he said he wouldn’t move until she kissed him.

Rose said she has called a hotline set up by the Sheriff’s Department to take complaints against the mayor. The department has been designated as the lead law enforcement agency for investigating the claims.

On Tuesday, a former campaign staffer told KPBS that Filner patted her bottom at a 2005 fundraising event, also when he was a congressman. Laura Fink said she demanded an apology from Filner in an email, and received a mumbled I’m sorry’’ a couple of days later.

On Monday, Filner’s former communications director became the first woman to publicly describe Filner’s alleged actions toward her.

Irene McCormack Jackson, 57, said that during her around six months employment in the mayor’s office, Filner held her in a headlock while demanding kisses. She also alleged the mayor told her she should work without her panties on, that he wanted to see her naked, that he could not wait to consummate their relationship, and that he wanted to marry her.

A poll by 10News said 72 percent of respondents found McCormack Jackson’s allegations to be credible. Another 12 percent said they were not, while 16 percent were undecided.

In another development, Voiceofsandiego.org reported that an unidentified woman has lodged a complaint with the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing, claiming she was sexually harassed by Filner.

The website’s report says the woman filing the complaint sought an investigation. It was unknown whether the new complainant was Fink, Rose or a fourth person. The agency did not immediately respond to an inquiry from City News Service.

McCormack Jackson’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, said a complaint was filed with the department on her client’s behalf and they were given the go-ahead to file a lawsuit against Filner.

In response to the lawsuit, Filner issued the following statement:

“I am saddened by the charges that were leveled against me today. Once due process is allowed to unfold, I am certain there will be a better understanding of this situation,” Filner said. “I remain committed to the people of San Diego and the work that needs to be done. My dreams and plans for moving this City to new heights are continuing. I humbly ask that through this vicious storm of controversy, people take a moment and temper their rush to judgment.

“I do not believe these claims are valid,” Filner added. “That is why due process is so important. I intend to defend myself vigorously and I know that justice will prevail.”

Meanwhile, the National Womens Veterans Association of America announced that it has rescinded an invitation to Filner to speak at its conference in San Diego next month in light of the sexual harassment allegations against him.

Filner, the leading Democrat on the House Veterans Committee when he was in Congress, was originally slated to be the keynote speaker at the association’s benefit gala Aug. 30 at the U.S. Grant hotel. He was also set to receive a lifetime achievement award from the organization.

NWVAA President Tara Jones said Filner is still invited to attend, but will no longer be allowed to speak.

After much careful thought and consideration, my board and I have determined and decided that Mayor Bob Filner will be removed as guest speaker on the topic of military sexual assault, sexual harassment and violence against women and children,’’ Jones told reporters.

The award has also been withdrawn, she said.