Mayor prohibited from meeting with women alone
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Mayor Bob Filner was restricted from meeting with
women alone at city facilities Tuesday, a day after his former communications
director said he made her feel “ashamed, frightened and violated” and is
unfit for his job.
Irene McCormack Jackson, 57, is the first alleged victim to step forward
since a sexual harassment scandal surrounding Filner broke out two weeks ago.
Jackson, a longtime San Diego Union-Tribune reporter who left to work
for the Port of San Diego before accepting a job with Filner's office in
January, announced on Monday that she has filed a lawsuit in San Diego Superior
Court against Filner and the city.
It seeks unspecified damages. Jackson's high-profile Los Angeles-based
attorney, Gloria Allred, said they will ask for what is supported by the
evidence that eventually comes out.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, who has publicly feuded with the mayor on
several occasions, said his office will defend the city, while Filner is
represented by lawyer Harvey Berger.
Filner could ask the City Council to reimburse his personal legal
expenses. However, the city can file a cross-complaint seeking reimbursement
from Filner if the municipal government has to pay damages when the lawsuit is
resolved, Goldsmith said.
“At my request, the mayor is not to meet with women alone at city
facilities,” Goldsmith said. “That was agreed to by his lawyer, and it is
being enforced by the chief of staff, deputy chief of staff. The chief of
police is also aware of that and has made certain commitments.”
The sexual harassment allegations were first aired publicly by three of
Filner's former political allies: former Councilwoman Donna Frye and lawyers
Cory Briggs and Marcos Gonzalez. They said the alleged victims were two
constituents and a city employee but did not publicly identify them.
In making the accusations, Frye, Briggs and Gonzalez demanded Filner's
immediate resignation. Since then, numerous other local leaders, including
fellow Democrats, have called on him to step down. They include Councilmen
David Alvarez and Todd Gloria, members of the local congressional delegation
Susan Davis and Scott Peters, local Assemblywoman Toni Atkins and Lorena
Gonzalez, who is Marcos' sister.
The San Diego County Democratic Party met to discuss whether to also
demand Filner's resignation but failed to reach a consensus.
Filner initially apologized and admitted that he had a problem, then
later demanded an investigation and his due process rights.
In a late-afternoon statement that followed McCormack's announcement
Monday, Filner said he was “saddened” by the charges that were leveled
“Once due process is allowed to unfold, I am certain there will be a
better understanding of this situation,” Filner said.
In her suit, McCormack alleges that Filner held her in a headlock while
demanding kisses. She also said he told her she should work without her panties
on, that he wanted to see her naked, that he could not wait to consummate their
relationship, and that he wanted to marry her.
“He is not fit to be mayor of our great city,” McCormack said. “He is
not fit to hold any public office.”
The recent resignation of Deputy Chief of Staff Allen Jones was the
turning point for her, according to McCormack, who remains a communications
director for the city but has transferred out of the mayor's office.
“I knew then that Mayor Filner would not change,” she said. “He
refused to listen to someone who he had known for 35 years and who told him
explicitly during a senior staff meeting that his behavior with women was
terrible and possibly illegal. Mayor Filner laughed it off.”