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San Diego Mayor Sued For Sexual Harassment

The lawsuit alleges Bob Filner asked a former staffer to work without underwear and made other advances.

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After nearly two weeks of public scrutiny and calls for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to resign, the allegations of sexual harassment against him received an identity Monday, when his former communications director announced that she had filed a lawsuit against him.

[READ: Lawsuit Accuses San Diego Mayor of Sexual Harrasment]

Irene McCormack Jackson, along with her attorney Gloria Allred, said at a news conference that Filner allegedly harassed her for months and on one occasion dragged her in a headlock while he whispered sexual advances in her ear.

"I am coming forward today to lay the blame at the feet of the person responsible: Mayor Bob Filner," McCormack Jackson said, according to Politico. "He is not fit to be mayor of our great city. He is not fit to hold any public office."

In light of the lawsuit, Filner has been forbidden to meet with women alone in city facilities, according to a local CBS affiliate.

McCormack Jackson, 57, did not express her concerns until another Filner staffer spoke up in June. The Associated Press reported that Allen Jones, then Filner's deputy chief of staff, said Filner was treating women "in a horrible manner." At that point, McCormack Jackson revealed that Filner had once asked her to "take off (her) panties and work without them."

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She resigned after that meeting, and took a job Filner offered her as communications manager for city operations, according to CBS News.

On a separate occasion, Reuters reported, the lawsuit alleges that Filner asked McCormack Jackson, "When are you going to get naked? Come on and give me a kiss."

McCormack Jackson is the first alleged victim to step forward and address the claims against Filner, who said in a released statement that he was "saddened" by the lawsuit and does not believe the claims are valid.

"Once due process is allowed to unfold, I am certain there will be a better understanding of this situation," Filner said. "I humbly ask that through this vicious storm of controversy, people take a moment and temper their rush to judgment."

Filner went on to say he intends to defend himself "vigorously" and believes that "justice will prevail."

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Many of Filner's former supporters and other city officials have said he has mistreated women and are calling on him to resign, less than eight months after he was elected.

On July 11, San Diego city councilwoman Donna Frye came forward with two attorneys to discuss allegations that several women made against Filner, the U-T San Diego reported.

Filner apologized the same day, saying he "diminished the office" to which he was elected and was "humbled to admit" that he needs help.

"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 said. "It's a good thing that behavior that would have been tolerated in the past is being called out in this generation for what it is: inappropriate and wrong."

 

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