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Anchored by Jake Tapper, The Lead airs at 4 p.m. ET on CNN.

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July 24th, 2013
05:50 PM ET

San Diego mayor accused of sexual harassment, again

Another day, another sexual harassment claim against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.

Filner's former campaign staffer Laura Fink has come forward saying he touched her on the rear, and made sexually suggestive remarks when he was a congressman back in 2005.

Fink said she was at a fundraising event, moving the congressman between courses from table-to-table.

When she came to move him after the second course, she stood him as he sat, waiting for a pause in the conversation so she could escort him to the next table. Someone at the table made a comment that Fink had worked her butt off.

"The congressman told me to turn around and patted me on the bum and said, nope, it's still there, and laughed," said Fink.

Fink said she realizes it sounds ridiculous that he told her to turn around and she did it, "but when you're a staffer, sometimes you don't think, you just do," said Fink.

At the time, Fink did not go public with the incident, but she did write the then-congressman an e-mail.

"I was totally humiliated by this event. The fact that I have worked so diligently on your behalf, makes your actions even more disappointing. This behavior is totally unacceptable," she wrote.

Fink said she sent the e-mail because she wanted to make sure that kind of behavior did not happen again, either to her, or anyone else.

"I documented it and I put it down not only so that I would remember it accurately, but also so that there would be a record. And I sent it to him directly and I ‘cc'd’ his chief of staff at the time," said Fink.

The congressman did not respond, said Fink. Instead, his chief of staff called her and asked what she wanted to do. She said she wanted an apology and said again that she did not want other staffers, or herself, to be harassed by Filner.

"The congressman within the week came to me, and he mumbled an apology, and then proceeded to tell me, 'But, I just didn't understand,'" said Fink.

The revelation comes just days after Filner's former spokeswoman, Irene McCormack Jackson, sued him for sexual harassment.

In a news conference, Jackson went into detail about behavior she describes as "cruel and disgusting."

"The past six months turned out to be the worst time of my entire working life. I had to work and do my job in an atmosphere while women were viewed by Mayor Filner as sexual objects or stupid idiots," said Jackson. "He had asked me to work without my underwear on ... I was placed in a Filner headlock and whipped around like a rag doll while he whispered sexual comments in my ear.”

Filner's latest accuser said Jackson's decision to come forward gave her the courage to tell her story.

CNN reached out to Filner's office for comment regarding Fink's accusations but has not heard back.

The mayor did release a statement in response to Irene Jackson's lawsuit.

It reads, in part, "As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting for equality for all people, I am embarrassed to admit that I have failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times I have intimidated them."

Filner had admitted to "not fully respecting women," said Fink. "For that reason alone, I think he should resign."

CNN's Shaneika Dabney contributed to this report.

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