Harassment on A Large Scale in City Government

Seventeen Women allege Sexual  Harassment

In the past weeks, starting on July 10, at least 17 women have alleged harassment saying the 70-year-old former Congressman and current San Diego Mayor, Bob Filner, made unwanted sexual advances.

Irene McCormack Jackson, the mayor’s former press secretary, was the first woman since the scandal broke to bring a lawsuit against the mayor, claiming that the mayor had harassed her. An 11-page suit, filed in San Diego County Superior Court, accuses Filner on one occasion of placing McCormack Jackson in what she described as a virtual “head lock” – while he suggested they get married and asked, “Wouldn’t it be great if we consummated the marriage?” The complaint quotes Filner on a separate occasion, in the press secretary’s City Hall office, as telling her, “When are you going to get naked? Come on and give me a kiss.”

“I had to work and do my job in an atmosphere where women were viewed by Mayor Filner as sexual objects or stupid idiots. I saw him place his hands where they did not belong on numerous women,” McCormack Jackson has said.

McCormack Jackson was hired by Filner in January but resigned in June and is now director of communications for another city department.

“I am saddened by the charges that were leveled against me”

In response to the lawsuit Filner has said, “I am saddened by the charges that were leveled against me. Once due process is allowed to unfold, I am certain there will be a better understanding of this situation. 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.”

Calls for Filner’s resignation began on July 11, when former San Diego city councilwoman and fellow Democrat Donna Frye joined two attorneys in leveling allegations that at least one woman had accused the mayor of harassing her.

Filner responded then by acknowledging that he had “failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times I have intimidated them.”
A number of prominent local Democrats have also publicly urged Filner to quit.

Filner resigned Friday August 30. A special election to replace him has been set for November 19.

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