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Local Businesswoman Alleges Mayor Filner Inappropriately Touched Her

A prominent businesswoman came forward today as the 18th woman to accuse San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment.

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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.

Dianne York, president and CEO of The Spa of La Jolla, told CNN that during a meeting with Filner three months ago, he put his hands on her buttocks while a photo was being taken and others were present in the room.

The first woman to accuse Filner of unwanted advances, groping or, in some instances, forced kissing, was his former communications director, Irene Jackson McCormack. She has sued the mayor and the city for unspecified damages.

Mediation between Filner, lawyers and city officials began Monday. All parties have refused to say whether they would go into a third day of negotiations today -- negotiations reported to be dealing in part with the possibility of Filner's resignation.

None of the key players involved in the mediation, like Filner, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, City Council President Todd Gloria and Councilman Kevin Faulconer, were spotted entering the location of the negotiations before noon today.

"It can be a long process. We are in that process; it is ongoing,'' City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said late Tuesday of the talks taking place on the 17th floor of a downtown high-rise.

McCormack Jackson came forward with her allegations in mid-July. She is one of three city employees among Filner's alleged 18 victims.

Goldsmith told reporters Tuesday that retired federal judge J. Lawrence Irving ordered participants not to discuss the substance of the negotiations.

Goldsmith, himself a former judge, said he would honor Irving's request.

Sources told U-T San Diego that Filner's resignation was on the table.

The newspaper also reported that a key point in the discussion surrounded limiting the amount of money that the taxpayers and the city would have to pay McCormack Jackson.

Filner has attended both days of the talks, so he has not returned to work at the City Administration Building. Neither his spokeswoman nor his Irvine-based private lawyer, James Payne, would say when the 70-year-old former congressman might resume his mayoral work.

Los Angeles-based lawyer Gloria Allred, who represents McCormack Jackson, was not present Tuesday, though she had been the previous day, along with her client. But Allred was reported to have taken part in the Tuesday talks by telephone.

The mayor has apologized publicly for what he called a failure to respect women and for "intimidating conduct,'' but denied his actions amounted to sexual harassment.

Earlier this month, he voluntarily underwent behavioral therapy at an inpatient facility. His lawyer said the mayor was continuing therapy on an outpatient basis.

Filner, who is also mired in investigations over alleged misuse of city-issued credit cards and shakedowns of developers, has so far rebuffed calls from all nine City Council members, other officeholders and business leaders to resign.

While the mediation sessions took place, organizers of an effort to recall Filner circulated petitions around the city. They need to turn in nearly 102,000 signatures to the City Clerk's Office by Sept. 26.

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