Ex-supporters again call for Filner to resign, detail allegations

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Ex-supporters of Mayor Bob Filner renewed their call
for his resignation Monday and detailed sexual harassment claims against him,
which include jamming his tongue down a woman's throat, putting his hand inside
her bra and telling another she would do better work without panties on.

Former Councilwoman Donna Frye alleged that a pattern of behavior had
emerged that included questioning a woman's relationship status, isolating her,
asking for a later meeting, making sexual comments and “physically imposing
himself upon her.”

“Bob Filner is tragically unsafe for any woman to approach, and again
we call on the mayor to resign and we want the women of this city and the
people who love them to know that sexual abuse and this behavior is not normal,
not their fault and they are not to blame — Bob Filner is to blame,” Frye

Filner did not respond directly to the allegations made by Frye and two
attorneys at a news conference. But this morning, in announcing staff changes
and reiterating that he has no plans to step down, he released a statement
saying that as the city's elected mayor, “I fully expect to be accountable to
the citizens of San Diego for all of my actions.”

“As a citizen of this country, I also expect — and am entitled to —
due process, and the opportunity to respond in a fair and impartial venue to
specific allegations. I do not believe I am guilty of sexual harassment, and I
believe a full presentation of the facts will vindicate me,” Filner said.

Frye said one woman has alleged that during a meeting, Filner sent a
staffer away and then inquired whether she was single and asked for a date and
if he could kiss her. Without waiting for a response, he allegedly grabbed her
and kissed her, according to Frye, who said the woman pulled away and left.

Another woman who met with the mayor in a public location alleges that
he called her beautiful, asked to kiss her, then “suddenly, and in clear view
of anyone who might pass by, grabbed and kissed her — jamming his tongue down
her throat,” Frye said.

As the woman gave Filner a ride home, he “had his hand on the inside of
her bra and was again trying to put his tongue down her throat,” Frye alleged.

Frye, along with attorneys Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs, reiterated
their calls for Filner to resign immediately.

According to Gonzalez, an employee of the mayor's office alleges that
Filner “grabbed her ass and touched her chest,” and says she witnessed the
mayor try to kiss another employee and make rude comments.

“There is no circumstance that 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.

The attorney described the so-called “Filner Headlock,” in which the
mayor allegedly puts his arm around a woman and pulls her away; and the
“Filner Dance,” the process of a woman trying to rebuke an attempt to kiss

Gonzalez said a sexual harassment claim — a precursor to a lawsuit —
would be filed with the city.

He said that Filner's recent taped apology, in which he acknowledged
that he failed to fully respect women and at times intimidated them, but denied
sexually harassing anyone, was incriminating.

“For purposes of the claim that will come forward and potentially the
lawsuits, the mayor has already admitted violating the sexual harassment
policy,” Gonzalez said.

Briggs said the trio was trying to balance the public's right to know
with the right to privacy of the women involved.

Filner, in his statement this morning, said those calling for his
resignation justified their demands with claims that city operations would be
compromised. In response, he said he has appointed former county Chief
Administrative Officer Walt Ekard as the city's interim chief operating officer
— a move he said was intended to strengthen city management.

Ekard in turn appointed Scott Chadwick, who had been the city's interim
COO, as the assistant chief operating officer, and named Judy VonKalinowski as
human resources director, according to Filner. She had been serving in that
role on an interim basis.

KPBS reported this morning that Filner's former fiancee, Bronwyn Ingram,
said she recently broke off their engagement because he was verbally abusive
toward her and blatantly sent sexually explicit text messages to other women.
Bronwyn Ingram, 48, said she also believed the 70-year-old mayor, who was
elected in November, should resign.

Ingram said Filner's ability to lead has been impaired by numerous
recent controversies. However, she said that she had no direct knowledge of the
sexual harassment allegations made against Filner.

“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
in her statement.

Ingram and Filner dated for more than three years prior to her
announcing their split last week.

Categories: KUSI