Wednesday, August 7, 2013
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.
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.