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CNN: Two More Women Allege Unwanted Advances By Filner

In an exclusive interview, CNN reported two more women — both veterans — alleged they were sexually harassed by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. The report comes just one day after a San Diego nurse alleged she was on the receiving end of Filner's unwanted advances when she sought his help for an injured Iraq veteran.

Special Feature Read the Backstory

All of the accusations, statements and apologies from the key players in the developing story about allegations of sexual harassment in Mayor Bob Filner's office and calls from former mayoral supporters for his resignation.

At a press conference Tuesday with attorney Gloria Allred, Michelle Tyler said she met with Filner in June to ask for help for Katherine Ragazzino, a Marine. The women said Filner offered a type of quid quo pro, promising help in exchange for a date with Tyler.

Since then, two more woman have come forward also accusing the mayor of sexual harassment, CNN reports.

According to the news agency, retired Air Force master sergeant Eldonna Fernandez is among at least eight female veterans who have made accusations against the mayor.

CNN reports they are also members of the National Women's Veterans Association of America in San Diego and many of the women had been victims of sexual assault during their time in the military.

Fernandez said she was raped three times during her service years.

From the story:

In civilian life, Fernandez now speaks openly about her assaults and is an active member of the NWVAA, which supports victims of military sexual assault.

Fernandez was speaking at an NWVAA event in August 2012 when she exchanged business cards with Filner.

"He looks at my card. He looks at me. He says, 'Fernandez. Are you married? Do you have a husband?' Very quick, very direct. I said, 'No, I'm divorced.' 'Well, you're beautiful, and I can't take my eyes off you, and I want to take you to dinner.' I was really shocked and I was like, 'Uh, OK,'" Fernandez said.

According to Fernandez, Filner followed up their encounter with a voicemail. According to the CNN report, he said:

"Hi, it's your newly favorite congressman, Bob Filner. You know, the one who fell in love with you at your last speech," he told Eldonna Fernandez.

At the same event where Fernandez spoke, Army veteran Gerri Tindley also gave a speech about her sexual assault in the military. Following her talk, she said Filner approached her in the green room.

"He got as close as he could to me. His jacket was touching my jacket," Tindley said. "I was bent down. He was bent down with me, rubbing like he cared, like he was consoling me."

Tindley said she felt uncomfortable as Filner moved closer and closer. So close, she said, that she nearly fell off the couch trying to move away from him.

Filner was to have entered a two-week intensive behavioral therapy program on Monday. According to CNN, calls to his chief of staff Lee Burdick were not returned and his lawyer Harvey Berger had no comment.

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Avatar for user 'laplayaheritage'

laplayaheritage | August 7, 2013 at 10:04 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

The ladies deserve an apology for the insensitive flirting and unwanted advances.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 7, 2013 at 10:33 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

As this scandal unfolds and people feel empowered to come forward and share their experiences with Mr. Filner, I think it's important to look at each case and the merits of it.

Certainly some of the stories have been credible and disturbing - telling someone they should work without their underwear on and putting a hand on someone's butt are over the line.

And make no bones about it, if Mr. Filner sexually harassed one woman, that's one too many and he should be ashamed of himself.

With all that said, nothing I read here seems to me to be that bad.

I haven't seen the CNN report so I am going solely off of what is written in this single article, but what I read is a man who asked a divorce woman on a date and a man who consoled a woman and apparently she felt he was too close.

Is there more to this?

Did he use his power as Congressman to force a date on the woman? Did she go on a date with him? If not, did he retaliate in any way?

As far as the woman he was consoling, did he say anything of a sexual nature? Did he touch her in any inappropriate place (anywhere other than having his hand on her back which is a common act of condolence?)

I'm just trying to keep it real here amidst the hysteria.

I think Mr. Filner did sexually harass people, I think he needs help (beyond the two weeks he is getting), and I think this scandal has rendered him ineffective as mayor and he should, for the good of our city, step down immediately.

With all that said, however, I am not willing to give blind credibility to anyone out there who comes forward.

I am going to judge each and every one of them on their own merits, and I call on all media outlets to do the same thing.

This scandal has reached national sensation levels, and as such you will find all kinds of people trying to get their say - legitimate victims, fame-seekers, and political operatives.

Each one needs to be evaluated separately.

As far as these two women on CNN, I am giving them the benefit of the doubt that what they said is true - even if so, and if no other pertinent facts exist beyond what is written here, what exactly did he do wrong in THESE PARTICULAR cases?

Of course, when you look at these two cases in the context of what we now know about Filner it does seem creepy - or more just desperate - as he was trying to ask out women everywhere he went. But again, creepy desperation doesn't reach the level of sexual harassment, does it?

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | August 7, 2013 at 10:43 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

And just to be clear, the examples I gave of telling someone to work without underwear and touching an intern's bottom ARE clearly and without question sexual harassment.

I just don't see what is sexual harassment in the accounts presented in this story.

One good way to gauge this - look at who Ms. Allred is actually filing charges for.

Ms. Allred is no fool, and so far, out of over 10 accusations, she has filed suit on behalf of one.

I think as the lawyers sift through who they are willing to represent and who they aren't, we will start to see who is credible and who isn't.

I still say the Marilyn Monroe impersonator/entertainer who came out this weekend is full of baloney and a fame seeker.

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Avatar for user 'DeLaRick'

DeLaRick | August 7, 2013 at 11:08 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago


You're hinting at an inconvenient truth that is evident to any sociable person with dating experience: Bob Filner's buffoonery was emboldened by all the women who said, "yes," not by all the women who said, "no." No one who strikes out that much would continue using the same tactics for 20+ years.

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Avatar for user 'muckapoo1'

muckapoo1 | August 7, 2013 at 12:14 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

What a pig !!! And a facially challenged one at that. Time to get rid of the trash. Where is the nearest dump??

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Avatar for user 'MalcolmSanDiego'

MalcolmSanDiego | August 7, 2013 at 12:20 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

To me, it seems like many people are missing the point. This whole Filner situation amounts to a subpar candidate for mayor. Unless you believe this whole thing is a conspiracy, 25% of these allegations leads one to not want such a person as the Mayor of San Diego.

If you believe none of the things reported, I have some ocean front property...

If you believe this behavior is not technically illegal, and therefore Filner should stay in office, you are dangerous--you would allow much more offensive behavior than this as long as YOU benefited (and I do believe whoever supports Filner staying must derive some sort of selfish benefit--you're either part of one of the groups he's paid lip-service to, or, you voted for him and are unwilling to admit your pony is a loser). Selfish.

Of course I don't judge Filner on a personal level! I've made MANY mistakes in my life about ALOT of things! I only believe the Mayor of San Diego, necessarily, has to be more professional than Filner is. Otherwise, the risk of detriment to the city is too great--a risk a citizen should not be asked to take.

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Avatar for user 'Mmikey'

Mmikey | August 7, 2013 at 12:26 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

all swings and no hits ?, It would be tough for anyone to come forward now if they actually submitted to his advances .

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Avatar for user 'laplayaheritage'

laplayaheritage | August 7, 2013 at 12:57 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Agreed Peking Duck.

It looks like touched and hugged women inappropriately, which is wrong, rude, immature, intimidating, and not tolerated.

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Avatar for user 'MarineRoom'

MarineRoom | August 7, 2013 at 3:56 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago


Interesting point.

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Avatar for user 'MarineRoom'

MarineRoom | August 7, 2013 at 4:01 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Malcolm :

Surely you jest. Or maybe you mean a professional crook. That's your preference? Unless, of course, you suggested removing the previous mayor as well as the mayor before Murphy. Then, I would believe that you have high moral standards for each and every mayor of our fair city.

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Avatar for user 'MalcolmSanDiego'

MalcolmSanDiego | August 7, 2013 at 4:40 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

Always remember, we're talking about Filner's actions--not another's.

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Avatar for user 'MalcolmSanDiego'

MalcolmSanDiego | August 7, 2013 at 4:44 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

If you really care about Filner, hook 'em up with a nice girl!

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Avatar for user 'RLA'

RLA | August 7, 2013 at 8:53 p.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

At least Filner is so low and despicable that he makes Randy Cunningham start to look good. After all, he only took money while Flner took the city's dignity.

BTW has anyone talked to the local Democratic committee lately to see how they explain their unqualified support for Filner even though they were warned about these very same issues?

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 8, 2013 at 11:41 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

*uckapoo1, you call Filner "facially challenged," well, are you "Mr.GQ"???

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | August 8, 2013 at 11:45 a.m. ― 3 years, 7 months ago

RLA, I guess you missed the part about fat and ugly Duke Cunnigham hiring an "escort" to his hotel room with his military contracting compdre in the next room, then kickkking her out because she wasn't pretty enough! Of course, he wsn't prosecuted for that, but in sexual ethics, Cunningham was no better! Look it up because it was reported. I believe it came out in testimony.

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