San Diego, CA– Another woman has come forward with sexual harassment allegations against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, bringing the total count of accusers to 15. His latest accuser is a 67 year-old great grandmother who worked part-time at City Hall.
Peggy Shannon’s job at City Hall was answering questions for seniors, but she never anticipated some of the questions she would get from the 70 year-old Mayor. The great-grandmother said Filner subjected her to unwanted sexual advances over a period of several months and even tried to forcibly kiss her, Reuters reported.
“Mayor Filner came by my desk and asked me if I thought he could go eight hours in one night. I was shocked that he would say that to me,” Shannon said in a press conference.
The retired great-grandmother, who was supplementing her income by working at City Hall, said that Filner’s inappropriate behavior made her feel embarrassed and left her in tears.
“Every day that I went to work I had butterflies in my stomach because I did not know what was going to happen the next time the mayor came by my desk,” Shannon said.
She tolerated the behavior for some time, but finally decided to file a complaint with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and come forward. She has also retained attorney Gloria Allred to help her with her case, however it is not clear if Shannon will file a lawsuit.
Shannon makes the fifteenth woman to come forward. Some of Filner’s other victims included former military members who were victims of sexual assault and a number of women who worked closely with him at City Hall have accused him of making unwanted sexual advances and groping.
Despite the fact that many have accused the mayor of sexual harassment, he is only facing one lawsuit and if there is a cash settlement Filner’s attorney believes the city should pay for it since he didn’t receive training when he became Mayor.
During the press conference, Shannon called for Mayor Filner’s resignation. Nearly every Democratic leader in San Diego has called for his resignation, but so far he has refused to do so.
Filner has apologized for his behavior and acknowledged he has a problem, but he apparently doesn’t think his problem is severe enough to quit his job. But how can he be an effective mayor if so many women are afraid of being in his presence?
Instead of resigning, Filner said he would undergo intensive therapy, but after five days he checked out of the treatment center, 10 days ahead of his original plans. Filner is still on his leave of absence and still undergoing out-patient therapy.
Since Filner refuses to resign, a bipartisan group of lawmakers have launched a recall campaign to oust him, but recall campaigns are costly and time consuming. In the meantime, city leaders are looking into ways they can limit Filner’s legislative powers or force his removal from office.
In addition, to sexually harassing numerous women, Filner has been accused of using his city credit card for unapproved expenditures. If that is true, city leaders could have him removed from office using a city charter rule.