Prominent California mayor faces sexual harassment lawsuit

Posted in Sexual Harassment on July 24, 2013

Sexual harassment and politics have historically been so intertwined that it’s difficult to avoid associating the two. Some of the most powerful politicians in California and around the country have been brought down by allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct toward colleagues and staff members.

Earlier this month, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner apparently joined the ranks of defamed politicians when he was sued by his former press secretary for sexual harassment. The plaintiff is one of several women who have allegedly been harassed by the 70-year-old mayor and former 10-term U.S. congressman.

The plaintiff reportedly worked for Mayor Filner from January 2013 until last month when she resigned. At a news conference, the woman explained that “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 where women were viewed by Mayor Filner as sexual objects or stupid idiots. I saw him place his hands where they did not belong on numerous women.”

She was reportedly among the recipients of those unwelcomed touches. According to the lawsuit, the mayor once allegedly wrapped his arm around her neck and pulled her close, placing her in a “virtual headlock.” He then reportedly joked about getting married to her and consummating that marriage.

On another occasion, the mayor allegedly asked her: “When are you going to get naked? Come on and give me a kiss.”

In light of these and other allegations, many are calling for the mayor to resign; a move which Filner has reportedly said he will not make. Instead, he offered to undergo sexual harassment training and seek other professional help as well.

If these allegations are true, they will be yet another example of the problematic correlation between politics and sexual harassment. The only way to break this cycle is for victims to come forward and hold their abusers accountable in court. Thankfully, the plaintiff in this case is setting a strong and brave example for other victims to follow.

Source: Press-Telegram, “San Diego mayor sued by former aide charging sexual harassment,” Marty Graham, July 22, 2013