11 women now say they were sexually harassed by San Diego mayor

Posted in Sexual Harassment on August 9, 2013

Late last month, we wrote about the sexual harassment allegations made against San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. Since then, the story has exploded and gained national attention as more and more of Mayor Filner’s alleged victims come forward to tell their stories.

So far, 11 women have publicly alleged that they were sexually harassed by Filner. In addition to his former communications director, other alleged victims include a retired Navy rear admiral and a university dean. The most recent sexual harassment allegations came from a nurse who says that Filner tried to secure dates from her in exchange for helping a friend and Iraq veteran to resolve some issues with Veterans Affairs.

The fact that 11 women have now brought accusations against Mayor Filner is bad enough, but the public seems especially outraged by Filner’s apparent refusal to own up to his own behavior. First, he asked permission to use taxpayer money to fund his defense in a sexual harassment lawsuit; a request which was unanimously denied by the City Council.

Now, Filner and his attorneys have intimated that his behavior was a result of the fact that he never received sexual harassment training before taking office eight months ago. Filner said: “This is not an excuse for any inappropriate behavior which may have occurred, but I have learned that many – if not most – people do not know what is and what is not illegal sexual harassment under California law.”

It is nearly impossible for most Americans to buy the argument that Mr. Filner’s actions were innocent mistakes which resulted from a lack of sexual harassment training. Even if he was somehow never taught about workplace sexual harassment before becoming mayor or during his 10 terms as a U.S. Congressman, most of his alleged behavior defies basic etiquette which children are taught in school, including common-sense tips such as “keep your hands to yourself.”

Based on the number of women who have already come forward, it seems likely that this sexual harassment scandal is just getting started. If there is one silver lining, it is the hope that due to the scandal, employers in California will renew their own commitment to educating employees and fighting sexual harassment in the workplace.

Source: Daily Mail, “San Diego mayor’s latest sexual harassment ‘victim’ is a nurse who says he expected ‘personal time’ with her in exchange for helping wounded Iraq Marine,” Anna Edwards, Aug. 7, 2013