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San Diego Mayor Starting Rehab; Accusers Count Now At 10

Evening Edition

Aired 8/5/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.


Elizabeth Becker, LCSW, Inner Solutions for Success, created first Professional Boundaries program.


Photo by Bill Wechter

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner in July.

Today's the day San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who's now been accused by 10 women of sexual harassment, is to start two weeks of treatment at a behavior counseling clinic.

Even though the Democratic mayor will be at an undisclosed location, he apparently won't be completely out of touch. According to San Diego's Union-Tribune, "Filner won't be ceding any authority during his self-imposed therapy sessions and plans to be briefed each morning and night on civic affairs and give direction to city staff."

Meanwhile, as CNN reports, over the weekend "another woman accused the mayor of unwanted sexual advances -- making her the 10th woman making such allegations. Renee Estill-Sombright told CNN affiliate KGTV that the mayor called her 'beautiful' at a church breakfast in June, said he couldn't take his eyes off her, asked if she was married, and then said he'd like to take her out some time. ... 'I kind of felt weird,' [she said]."

The network adds that it "has made multiple efforts to contact Filner and his representatives on the latest allegations but has not gotten a response."

Filner, 70, has been the subject of such charges for weeks now. Last month, KPBS recounted how Filner's former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, described his "penchant for putting her into a headlock and pulling her about, while whispering sexually explicit comments in her ear. She said the mayor often told her he loved her, wanted to kiss her, told her he wanted to see her naked and that she should work without panties at City Hall; and that he wanted to 'consummate their relationship.' "

The mayor is twice-divorced. In July, the woman he had been engaged to ended their relationship. Bronwyn Ingram, 48, said "she ended her relationship with him because he became increasingly abusive toward her and began sending sexually explicit text messages to other women in her presence," KPBS reported.

Filner has rejected calls to resign. In a video statement to the people of his city, he conceded that he had "failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times, I have intimidated them."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit

KPBS' Maureen Cavanaugh, Patty Lane and Peggy Pico contributed to this Midday and Evening Edition segment

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 5, 2013 at 2:09 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

The first 8 accusers seem credible to me.

The last 2 ..... eh.

The first 8 are all established, credible women who had business in some form with Filner.

These last two are entertainers - nobody entertainers at that who would be very happy to have their name in the news any way they can get it.

I mean a Marilyn Monroe impersonator?

I'm not saying these women's claims are baseless, but I do think the media and the public has a job to be vigilant about people making claims because scandals like this breed people with ulterior motives to slither out under their rocks and get their 15 minutes of fame.

Just because most of the women are credible and Filner has admitted to "mistreating women" doesn't mean every person who comes forward is necessarily telling the truth.

Again, if these last 2 accusers were harassed, then my deepest condolences and admiration for them coming forward.

But, something about their interviews/stories just seemed different from the previous 8.

Something seems just a little off there.

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Avatar for user 'DonWood'

DonWood | August 5, 2013 at 2:41 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

"the mayor called her 'beautiful' at a church breakfast in June, said he couldn't take his eyes off her, asked if she was married, and then said he'd like to take her out some time.... ". How does this behavior differ from any other single man flirting with a new acquaintance? Don't see how this particular behavior rises to sexual harassment or grounds for removal from elected office. Seems like these "dripping water" accusations
are running out of steam and the women bringing them forward are reaching. Let's see how the courts handle the only lawsuit brought against him so far. Let's see how much evidence his accuser provides and whether any witnesses can vouch for her assertions. Let the legal system work, instead of trying to convince the mayor to quit by just calling him nasty names. If the single lawsuit against him falls apart, watch the local media pundits jump back on his bandwagon.

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Avatar for user 'SDhiker'

SDhiker | August 5, 2013 at 5:34 p.m. ― 3 years, 6 months ago

I have to admit that I wonder if, after #8, some people just want attention. Either way, it's not my place to judge anyone.

At the same time, we have a man who has twice said that he has not behaved properly, and it's my understanding that such conduct goes directly against what he is supposed to manifest as a public servant. Not wanting to step down and assuming that a couple of weeks' therapy will do the trick, he reminds me of my 9th grade students: "Awwww, come on. I said I did it and said I was sorry to the kid whose cell phone I stole. Isn't that enough punishment? Why do my parents have to be called, and why do I have to see the Vice Principal? Can't we just forget about this?"
Seriously. Grow up.

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