Nurse Wanting Help For Marine Says Filner Made Unwanted Sexual Advances
Another woman, a nurse named Michelle Tyler, said Mayor Bob Filner made unwanted sexual advances toward her while she was trying to get help for a U.S. Marine.
The Marine, Katherine Ragazzino, and attorney Gloria Allred, appeared with Tyler during a press conference Tuesday. They detailed a June 11 meeting between Tyler and the mayor where they said Filned offered a type of quid quo pro, promising help in exchange for a date with Tyler.
Allred said she has not yet filed a lawsuit on behalf of Tyler, but they will file a complaint with the San Diego County Sheriff's Office on Tuesday afternoon and have sent a letter to San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith asking him to investigate the incident.
Allred is also representing Irene McCormack Jackson, who filed a suit last month against the mayor and the city of San Diego, citing specific examples of lewd behavior by the mayor.
Since then, at least nine other women have come forward with similar allegations.
Filner was scheduled to be in behavioral counseling starting Monday. His office did not respond to requests for comment.
Tyler, a licensed nurse, said she met with Filner, Ragazzino and a veterans representative in the mayor's office to ask him to lobby the Veterans Administration to get Ragazzino help. Ragazzino said she had post-traumatic stress disorder and spent 18 months in the hospital for injuries she sustained while in Iraq.
After agreeing to help Ragazzino, Filner asked to speak to Tyler alone.
"I thought the mayor wanted to ask me questions about Katherine's injuries and level of care," Tyler said. "Instead, I was stunned to find he suddenly changed the conversation from professional to personal."
Allred said the mayor made advances on Tyler, rubbed her arm, told her to relax and said "wow, you are really magnificent."
"The mayor leaned forward and asked, 'you are not married, are you?'" Allred said. When Tyler told him she was in the midst of a divorce, Filner said "good," according to Allred.
Filner then found a phone number Tyler had written on her appointment request and said, "is that your phone number that I can call you at?" Allred said. She added that the mayor asked Tyler, "will you go to dinner with me if I help your Marine?"
She said Filner told Tyler that if they weren't in his office, he would like to kiss her.
Tyler told him to stop and said she had to leave, Allred said. As Tyler left the office, the mayor told her, "I'm going to call you."
Allred said the mayor made it clear his help for Ragazzino was conditional upon Tyler going to dinner with him and spending time with him.
Allred said Filner's behavior was an abuse of his power, and suggested the city post a sign outside the mayor's office warning that he is a danger to women.
"It is shocking that Mayor Filner would use the power of his office to attempt to set up dates with individuals seeking his help," Allred said. "Many people ask for help from their elected officials. To use his power as the mayor of the city of San Diego to satisfy his sexual needs is clearly improper and should not be tolerated."
Ragazzino teared up as she described her experience with Filner and Tyler. She said she owes everything to Tyler for getting her help.
"I don't appreciate being used as a bargaining chip to fulfill his sexual desires," Ragazzino said of Filner.
Filner is scheduled to be deposed in the McCormack case on Friday, a date that conflicts with his reported behavioral therapy. Allred said she does not know where the mayor is receiving his therapy, but expects the deposition to continue as scheduled.
She added that she has also been contacted by more women with claims against Filner.