Former aide sues San Diego mayor over sexual harassment
By Marty Graham
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) – Mayor Bob Filner, facing pressure to resign over allegations of making lewd comments and unwanted advances toward women, was hit on Monday with a sexual harassment lawsuit by a former aide who accused the 70-year-old mayor of asking her to “get naked” and kiss him.
The lawsuit against Filner and the city of San Diego was brought by the mayor’s former director of communications, Irene McCormack Jackson.
The 11-page complaint, filed in San Diego County Superior Court, quotes Filner as telling Jackson last month in her office in City Hall: “When are you going to get naked? Come on and give me a kiss.”
Talk of harassment has dogged Filner, and the mayor recently has acknowledged inappropriate behavior toward female staff members. But Jackson is the first woman to charge publicly that he had harassed her.
“The past six months turned out to be the worst time of my entire working life,” Jackson told a news conference. “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.”
Filner’s representatives could not immediately be reached for comment on the lawsuit. The mayor, a Democrat and former member of Congress, has said he will not step down.
Jackson was hired by Filner in January but currently director of communications for city operations. Her lawsuit also accused Filner of employment discrimination.
(Reporting by Marty Graham; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Dan Whitcomb and David Gregorio)