San Diego mayor to get therapy amid scandal

By Elliot Spagat,Associated Press

July 26, 2013

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The mayor of San Diego announced Friday he will undergo therapy after several women accused him of sexual harassment, apologizing for his conduct but resisting widespread calls for his resignation, including from his own Democratic Party.

Bob Filner, a former congressman known to have fought for the rights of Filipino World War II veterans and the U.S. border city’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years, apologized to voters, his staff and the women he allegedly harassed, including some who accused him of kissing, groping and placing them in headlocks.

“Words alone are not enough,” Filner said at a nationally televised news conference. “I am responsible for my conduct and I must take responsibility for my conduct so that such conduct does not ever happen again.”

It was the second time this month that a sex scandal has ensnared a high-profile U.S. politician. In New
York, mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner admitted this week that he continued exchanging sexually explicit messages with at least three women even after similar behavior forced his resignation from Congress in 2011. Weiner, also a Democrat, has shrugged off calls to drop out of the mayoral race.

Fillner’s problems began two weeks ago when a former councilwoman and onetime supporter of the mayor called on him to step down, saying she had credible evidence that he harassed women.

On Monday, his communications director from January to June, Irene McCormack Jackson, filed a lawsuit claiming that he asked her to work without panties, demanded kisses, told her he wanted to see her naked and dragged her in a headlock while whispering in her ear.

Up to seven women have accused him of sexual harassment, including a retired Navy rear admiral and a dean at San Diego State University.

The chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee called on Filner to resign as did leaders of the San Diego Democratic party, plunging the nation’s eighth-largest city, which sits across from Tijuana, Mexico, into political turmoil.

Filner, who is 70 and divorced, instead said he will receive twice-a-day briefings about city operations while taking part in what he described as “intensive therapy” beginning Aug. 5. He said more counseling would follow.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman called Filner’s alleged behavior “reprehensible and indefensible” and urged him to step down.

Several people who have called on Filner to resign said his plan for therapy was inadequate.

“Two weeks of therapy may help Bob Filner with his personal problems, but it does not help to address the needs of San Diego,” said Laura Fink, a political consultant who alleges that Filner patted her buttocks at a 2005 fundraiser when she was deputy campaign manager for the then-congressman.

Kevin Faulconer, a Republican city councilman, said Filner’s “bad behavior” will not end after two weeks of therapy.

Veronica “Ronne” Froman, the retired rear admiral, said Filner once blocked a doorway after others left a meeting, ran his finger up her cheek and asked if she had a man in her life. Froman said the incident occurred a couple years ago at Filner’s congressional office.

Sharon Bernie-Cloward, president of the San Diego Port Tenants Association, said the then-congressman told her at an event in 2010 that she was beautiful and he wanted to date her after his re-election. At another event last year during the mayoral campaign, she said Filner “groped me on my backside inappropriately.”

“I was left there startled and fearful. In fact, I actually had someone walk me to my car that night,” she said.

Patti Roscoe, a businesswoman in the tourism and hospitality industry who knew Filner before he was elected to Congress in 1992, said Filner placed her in a “headlock” numerous times and tried to kiss her on the lips.

“I’d have to squirm to get away. And just as recently as a few months ago this happened. I turned and he just slobbered down my chin,” Roscoe said.

Joyce Gattas, dean of San Diego State’s College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, said she had a series of “interactions with Bob where he’s held me too tight, a kiss on the cheek which is inappropriate, hands on the knee that last too long.”

2 Comments on this post.

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  • jorge buesa
    27 July 2013 at 8:49 am - Reply

    I don’t understand, why it took so long, for anyone to say something about him ? What’s wrong with this picture ?

  • Alex Regacho J
    29 July 2013 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    He definitely needs to resign, he is a SICKO he admits it himself.