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July 26th, 2013
06:59 PM ET

Filner treated me 'like a piece of meat', says woman accusing San Diego mayor of sexual harassment

Woman after woman has come forward, accusing San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of grabbing, groping, kissing, and literally drooling on them.

Four more women – a businesswoman, a retired Navy Rear Admiral, the head of the Ports Tenants Association, and a dean at San Diego State University – came forward Thursday, accusing Filner of sexual harassment, bringing the total to seven.

Filner apologized for his behavior, but did not resign Friday, saying instead that he will undergo two weeks of intensive therapy to address his behavior.

"This is not just about apologizing," said lawyer Gloria Allred, who is representing Irene McCormick Jackson, and filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Filner. "He has disgraced the city of San Diego. He needs to resign, and he needs to resign right now."

Allred filed the lawsuit on Monday and held a press conference with McCormick. She said she commends all the other women who have come forward since then.

Morgan Rose, who was the third woman to come forward accusing Filner of sexual harassment, said she also wants Filner to resign.

"To even see his face on television, or around the city, and bring up all that horrible feeling that we have when we see his face, it brings back all of our experience with him, and the dehumanizing way that he treated us," said Rose.

Rose said Filner treated her "like a piece of meat" when she was lobbying the then-congressman about her organization, America's Angel Campaign, a group devoted to working with domestic violence in military and other families.

"He was entrapping me, he would not let me leave unless I kissed him, which – that was not going to happen," said Rose.

It happened in 2009, but Rose said she is reminded of the assault all the time.

"None of us will ever forget. We hear his name and it all comes back to us, much less seeing his face and thinking he's in power as our mayor," said Rose.

Rose said she expects more women to come forward, and acknowledge they were victims of his unwanted sexual advances.

"There is a catharsis to be able to say yes, and to hold him accountable. Even if he resigned I would still want to see women coming forward. Just to keep him feeling at some very superficial level what we feel, the humiliation, the shame," said Rose.

Allred said it is absurd that Filner, at 70, "doesn't know that sexual harassment is against the law; doesn't know it's not appropriate to say to someone who works for him that he'd like her to come to work without her panties on."

Jackson, Allred's client, was the first of the accusers to go public. She said she resigned as Filner's communications director in June after deciding that the mayor would not change his behavior.

"I had to work and do my job in an atmosphere where women were viewed by Mayor Filner as sexual objects or stupid idiots," Jackson said.

She said he asked her to work without underwear and made repeated sexual advances toward her.

"She was his director of communications. She was part of what he called his core team, and she was trying to tough it out. But finally she couldn't tough it out anymore," said Allred.

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  1. Catholic4Life

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    July 26, 2013 at 9:39 pm | Reply

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