I thought sexual harassment of women as an elected official was the job of Bill Clinton and Arnold Schwarzegger. Now Democrat San Diego Mayor Bob Filner literally has no problem French kissing a campaign worker, against her will in public—then fondling her as she drives him. He is sick—and even the Democrats are tired of his boorish actions.
This is a fairly explicit description of what Filner did. Yet, leading Democrats, including the Chairman of the San Diego Democrat Party knew all about this MONTHS’ before Filner was elected. Shame on them.
“Calling Mayor Bob Filner “tragically unsafe for any woman to approach,” former Councilwoman Donna Frye on Monday renewed her call for his resignation while sharing explicit details about encounters that women had with the mayor.
Frye read from statements from two unnamed women, including one who was a campaign volunteer who said that Filner had kissed her on a public sidewalk, “jamming his tongue down her throat” and later groped her under her bra when she drove him back to his office.”
By Karen Kucher, San Diego U-T, 7/15/13
Calling Mayor Bob Filner “tragically unsafe for any woman to approach,” former Councilwoman Donna Frye on Monday renewed her call for his resignation while sharing explicit details about encounters that women had with the mayor.
Frye read from statements from two unnamed women, including one who was a campaign volunteer who said that Filner had kissed her on a public sidewalk, “jamming his tongue down her throat” and later groped her under her bra when she drove him back to his office.
Frye was joined at a news conference by attorneys Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs, who also have called for the mayor to step down because they had firsthand accounts that he sexually harassed women. Gonzalez said a client spent six months working in the mayor’s office and complained “he grabbed her ass and touched her chest.”
“There is no circumstance by which it would be appropriate for the mayor to enter into an elevator with my client or any person who he employs and to tell them that they would do a better job on that floor if they worked without their panties on,” Gonzalez said.
“In his office, there are women who call him a dirty old man and push him away, but this is their job. He is their boss,” Gonzalez said. He said the security detail in Filner’s office and others in his office will corroborate the allegations.
Frye said Filner has a clear pattern of behavior with women, including staffers, constituents and campaign volunteers.
“It begins with him checking a woman’s availability through asking her about a spouse or a boyfriend, then isolating the women somewhere off where they can talk. He then requests dinner, a later meeting, making unwanted sexual comments or physically imposing himself on her,” she said.
Frye read a statement from a woman who went to meet with Filner at City Hall to talk about a city issue. After being escorted into the room by a staffer, she said the mayor asked the staffer to leave. When they were alone, he asked the woman if she was seeing anyone and if he could kiss her.
“Immediately upon asking if he could kiss me, Mayor Filner grabbed me and kissed me. I was able to push myself away and hurriedly left the room, very upset,” Frye quoted the woman as saying.
At one point during the news conference, Frye angrily shouted that Filner’s behavior “wasn’t normal” and that Filner was to blame, not the women making the accusations.
“We need to stand by our women who have been abused, who have been sexually harassed and stand up for them and get him out of office,” Frye said. “Help us stop this horrible, horrible nightmare.”
Gonzalez described “the Filner headlock” in which the mayor would put his arm around a woman’s neck to pull her aside to tell her he wanted to speak with her alone and “the Filner dance” which he said women would do to try to avoid being kissed by the mayor.
“He needs to step down now. What happens after that is a script that is largely in the hands of the mayor and our clients,” Gonzalez said.
Gonzalez said he would be filing a claim on behalf of his client, but said “it may not happen tonight or tomorrow.” And he added the decision to file a lawsuit had not been made. He urged “every person in this city” to ask the mayor to resign.
Filner supporters kept yelling “due process” during the news conference and waved blue signs with yellow lettering that read “Due Process For Mayor Filner.”
Frye replied: “I believe the mayor is getting the process he is due.”
The revelations, made at a morning news conference outside City Hall, came on a morning already rocked by developments in the scandal.
Earlier Monday, the mayor’s ex-fiancee called on him to resign and said he had infidelities and sent sexually explicit text messages to other women. Also on Monday, Filner reiterated that he has no plans to resign.
Filner released a statement outlining new staff appointments, including naming Walt Ekard as the interim chief operating officer. Ekard is a former top county administrator.
The mayor has all but dared his accusers to file formal complaints by promising a full investigation and saying he is “confident that a fair and independent investigation will support my innocence with respect to charges of sexual harassment.”
In a statement provided to the media, Bronwyn Ingram, Filner’s former fiancee, said she had no direct knowledge of sexual harassment allegations against Filner but said the numerous controversies surrounding the Mayor’s Office have impaired his ability to lead and he should resign.
“While I had heard rumors that he was engaging in sexual relationships with other women, I was never able to determine their validity,” Ingram said. “… However, as Bob’s behavior continued to become more aggressive, standard decorum seemed to disappear. Bob recently began texting other women sexually explicit messages and setting up dates while in my presence and within my line of vision.”
Filner has been under siege since Wednesday when Frye, Gonzalez and Briggs came forward with allegations that he sexually harassed numerous women and called for his resignation. By the end of last week, a chorus of top Democrats and Republicans had called on him to resign, including state lawmakers, City Council members and the former head of the region’s labor council.