Irene McCormack Jackson filed a lawsuit on Monday alleging that Mayor Bob Filner sexually harassed her, put her in a headlock on multiple occasions, dragging her ‘around like a rag doll,’ and said ‘crude and disgusting’ things to her.
Her attorney, Gloria Allred said Filner had repeatedly asked Jackson when they could have sex and asked her on several occasions to ‘come to work without panties.’
Jackson, who now works in a different position at San Diego’s City Hall, is the first alleged victim of Filner to make her accusations against Filner publicly.
Now four more prominent San Diego women came forward Thursday evening accusing embattled Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment.
The latest accusers – who include a retired Navy rear-admiral, a San Diego State University dean, the head of the Port Tenants Association and a businesswoman – told KPBS they have all been on the opposite end of unwanted sexual advances made by Filner over the years.
The alleged harassment, the women said, included sexual advances, inappropriate touching and comments made towards them by the mayor.
Sharon Bernie-Cloward, president of the San Diego Port Tenants Association, said Filner approached her at an event in National City in 2010 when he was still a congressman. There, Filner allegedly told her she was beautiful and said he wanted to date her after his re-election.
Bernie-Cloward said she had a second unpleasant run-in with Filner at another event in San Diego in 2012. She told KPBS that Filner approached her after the event and gave her a hug. “And then he touched me, actually groped me on my backside inappropriately,” Bernie-Cloward told KPBS. She said the incident left her “startled and fearful.”
A second accuser, San Diego businesswoman Patti Roscoe, claimed Filner has put her in the now-infamous “Filner Headlock” several times. After putting his arm around her neck, Roscoe said Filner would try to kiss her.
Roscoe’s most recent run-in with the mayor happened just a few months ago.
“I turned and he just slobbered down my chin,” Roscoe told KPBS. “And I was so violated and so offended. It’s just such a terrible invasion.”
Meanwhile, retired Navy rear-admiral Veronica Froman recalled an encounter at Filner’s congressional office a couple of years ago in which he allegedly blocked the doorway after everyone except for her had left the room.
According to Froman, he got very close to her, ran his finger up her cheek and asked if she was in a relationship with anyone. He then made some jokes, and she left his office completely rattled.
“I got in the car with the two guys I was working with and I told them never to leave me alone in a room with Bob Filner again,” she told KPBS.
Finally, Joyce Gattas, dean of SDSU’s College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts, said she’s had various interactions with Filner in which he held her too tight, kissed her cheek or touched her knee. Gattas also claimed she’s seen Filner make sexual comments to others.