San Diego Mayor Bob Filner In Hot Water Over New Harassment Claim

Woman Says He Groped and Made Suggestive Remarks

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By Reuters

Published July 20, 2013.
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On Monday, the trio announced more graphic details. Frye said Filner made unwelcome advances against two constituents and “jammed his tongue down” the throat of one of them. Lawyer Marco Gonzalez said a client who worked for Filner said he groped her and suggested she not wear panties.

Among local Democrats who publicly called this week for Filner to resign are U.S. Representatives Susan Davis and Scott Peters. Others including San Diego City Council president Todd Gloria have also asked for him to step aside.

“He says he’ll be dragged out kicking and screaming, but I think I’ve been in the minority in terms of pundits in saying that a resignation will come relatively soon,” said political analyst John Dadian, who has worked with local Republican officials.

So far, no women have stepped forward to publicly accuse Filner. A Filner representative did not respond to calls or emails seeking an interview.

“I do not believe I am guilty of sexual harassment, and I believe a full presentation of the facts will vindicate me,” he said in a statement on Monday. The same day, the mayor told television station KUSI, “I’m a hugger, with both men and women.”

With no one going public to say he or she was personally harassed by Filner, some have questioned the allegations. On Thursday, about 50 people including many activists from poor neighborhoods rallied in his support outside a city administration building.

“If he is guilty, I’ll be out here to stand with the women because I am a woman,” said rally participant Kathleen Harmon, 83. “But I don’t know that the allegations are true … The mayor deserves due process.”

University of California, San Diego, political science professor Steven Erie said Filner might not be so easily ousted and was a tough politician, citing time he spent in a Mississippi jail in the 1960s as a civil rights activist.

“I don’t think he’s going to resign, and the only thing that’s going to force him from office is a felony conviction or a recall before his term ends,” Erie said.


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