On Wednesday, one of Filner’s strongest supporters, former City Council woman Donna Frye revealed that she recently received “credible evidence” that Filner subjected women to “truly reprehensible behavior.”
Frye, who worked closely with the Mayor as the director of open government, and attorneys, Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs, sent a letter to Filner calling for his resignation.
In press conference Thursday, Frye said the women were too frightened to come forward and discouraged the media from trying to find them. When pressed about their identities, Gonzalez inferred that some accusers included women sitting in his office; women from the reporter pool and those who worked on the campaign feel they too had been subjected to Filner’s inappropriate behavior.
In the press conference, the trio explained that numerous women were harassed by Filner, but did not provide any details about the allegations, referring to Filner as a “friend and ally.”
Frye was quick to point out that she was not sexually harassed by Filner.
“Those who have spoken to me recently would not make the allegations lightly or without cause, and I believe them,” Frye wrote in a letter to Filner which she shared with KPBS.
Frye continued, “I cannot in good conscience remain silent on this, even if those who have spoken to me choose to do so out of fear of retribution or the possibility of a media circus where they could be twice victimized.”
“There is no doubt in my mind that what I am telling you and standing here talking about today. There is no doubt in my mind that these allegations are true,” Frye said in Thursday’s press conference, according to NBC San Diego.
Filner has not addressed the allegations or calls for his resignation.
The calls for Filner’s resignation came just a few days after his fiancé Bronwyn Ingram announced they were splitting up.
Filner has been under scrutiny for his use of public funds for a questionable trip to Paris. He is also under investigation for one of his deals with a land developer.
This latest scandal is perfect ammunition for his Republican opponents to pounce on; Councilman Kevin Faulconer said, “It saddens me that the city of San Diego is crumbling under Mayor Filner’s scandals,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
As for the women who were allegedly harassed by Filner, they have the option of filing a civil lawsuit to seek compensation. After the lawsuit is filed, a thorough investigation will ensue.
If there is sufficient evidence to prove the women’s claims, the city and Filner can choose to negotiate with the harassment victims for an agreeable settlement or they can choose to have a court trial. A trial would be very costly and put the women in the public spotlight so a settlement may be the route all interested parties will decide to take. Many sexual harassment cases are settled out of court, even though the accused believes they are innocent of the charges.