Former Filner Supporters Provide Details Of Sexual Harassment Allegations, But Not Identities Of Women
ALLISON ST. JOHN: Pressure mounts on the mayor to resign. Filner shows no sign of stepping down. This is KPBS Midday Edition. Stories of outrageous sexual harassment swirl behind the scenes. One complaint has been filed with the city and the press conference today there was talk of possible lawsuits. However, no women have come forward publicly to accuse the mayor. Filner issued a statement today saying he will not resign. He says he's entitled to a chance to respond to specific allegations. He has appointed Walter Ekard as chief administrative officer however the number of key figures has grown among the ranks of those calling the mayor to resign. We will talk about this morning's events, what constitutes sexual harassment and why it's so difficult for victims of sexual harassment to step forward. That's all coming up on Midday Edition, first the news. Tension mounts in San Diego as the mayor refuses to step down in response to allegations of sexual harassment. A press conference refers to possible lawsuits. You're listening to Midday Edition here on KPBS. Today is Monday, July 12 you are listening to Midday Edition. I am Allison St. John in for Maureen Cavanaugh. We have a lot of unfolding events in relation to the ongoing scandal I think we can call it regarding sexual allegations against Mayor Bob Filner and we have in studio Senior editor Mark Sauer and investigative reporter Amita Sharma both of KPBS who were watching the press conference and will bring us the details. So Mark, this was the press conference where the three original accusers came back to talk about any progress, any more details from the alleged the terms of sexual abuse what did we learn today? MARK SAUER: That's right Allison, why we didn't see there of course are any of the alleged victim standing. Coming forward, for I went KPBS broke this story last week Donna Frye told us she was fiercely protective, as with her two Democratic politicos Marco Gonzales and Corey Briggs, both attorneys, she was very protective of these women, thought that with the media storm quite rightly that has happened since, these women would be if it demised here if their identities were made public so what they're trying to do is bring enough pressure to bear on Mayor Filner, they went with him in private to begin with before any of this was made public and wanted him to resign, formally gave him letters to that effect saying there were credible allegations that they had and (inaudible) so they are still at this point try to keep the identities of these would out of the public eye and that's where we are at today. ALLISON ST. JOHN: Okay just before we get into any more specifics I want to read the statement that the mayor issued this morning he said I'm not going to resign and here's why as your elected mayor I fully expect to be accountable to the citizens of San Diego for all of my actions but as a citizen of this country I also expect and am entitled to due process and the opportunity to respond in a fair and impartial value to a specific allegations. I do not believe I'm guilty of sexual harassment and I believe that a full presentation of the facts will vindicate me. That was part of the statement he gave this morning and Mark, Donna Frye gave some more specifics. MARK SAUER: She certainly did and on the due process note they may regret having this in a public place there were several Filner supporters with signs saying due process of the stamps from Filner and his supporters at this point Donna Frye was markedly different today than she was at last week's press conference where she was choked up to the point where she had trouble speaking today she was forthright, she was angry, she was wagging her finger and shouting at times and quite angry and ALLISON ST. JOHN: We have some tape of that NEW SPEAKER: I can this morning we call on the mayor to resign and we want the women of this city and the people who love them to know that sexual abuse and this behavior is not normal. Not their fault. And they are not to blame. Bob Filner is to blame. And he needs to resign. We need to stand by our women who have been abused, who have been sexually harassed. And stand up for them and get him out of office. Help us stop this horrible, horrible civic nightmare. ALLISON ST. JOHN: Okay so this former city Councilwoman Donna Frye and I should mention that there were in the background people carrying posters saying due process for Filner and calling on them to give them names but that did not happen. MARK SAUER: That didn't happen and I've known Donna Frye for a long time and I've never seen her that angry she's taking this very personally preachy mentioned short of the women coming forward and names and specific allegations there were specifics given today. I'm going to start with Donna Frye and dummies is going to help me on this part. She talked about one woman who is backing Bob Filner was enamored of his mission in politics? To do with the city and campaign had met with him after he became mayor this woman thought she had the ear of the mayor, was flattered by that, then this private conversation they were having shifted to a Donna Frye calls a pattern. You are very beautiful. I would like to kiss you. She tried to rebuff these advances. Donna Frye said that the woman told her he didn't did kiss her, stuck his tongue down her throat, grabbed her, grabbed at her bra, very disturbing allegations here and then there was a second constituent she described and Amita, tell us what happens in that instance AMITA SHARMA: Well, this constituency update meeting with the mayor on one of the Saturday office hours in which the mayor makes himself accessible to the public, and she said that when she went to go meet with Mayor Bob Filner, she says this in a sworn affidavit that she has filed with lawyer Cory Briggs she said that when she was left in the room I came almost immediately he asked her, Mayor Bob Filner asked her if she was signal. The woman said she responded by telling the mayor that he had a very beautiful fiancée, Bronwyn Ingram, who by the way broke up with him last week, and he then according to her allegedly said I'd like you to go out with me. May I kiss you? And the woman said Filner immediately grabbed her and began kissing her. She said that she pushed him away and left pretty upset. ALLISON ST. JOHN: Okay we now have Carl Luna, political science professor from Mesa college who has joined us in the studio here and I want to bring you in, Carl because here we have two more specific but without names more specific pieces of evidence about sexual harassment. Do you think this is enough to get the mayor to change his position? CARL LUNA: At this point it does not look at the mayor is going to change his position until either there are out right lawsuits filed and it goes to court orders a recall process that actually gets underway. I think the bunker doors are shut he's hunkering down I think he believes he can ride this out or don't think he is correct in that, however. ALLISON ST. JOHN: Mark can you elaborate on why Donna Frye is so adamant that she will not come out with the names of the specific woman? MARK SAUER: She is extraordinarily protective of these women, she quite rightly read the situation that as soon as this became public her personal letter to the mayor asking him to resign as well as similar letters from Marco Gonzales and Cory Briggs had a media storm would hit, well that storm has certainly hit and we're coming up on a weeklong storm in that regard and she certainly thinks they can bring in a clinical pressure to get the mayor to resign without these women having to come forward and she says be re-victimized. But I don't know so much that she's saying don't come forward, she said the women themselves simply don't want to come forward. KPBS has contacted them and they do not want their names attached to the stories because of the fallout. ALLISON ST. JOHN: We have a clip from Cory Briggs which I believe talks a bit about the dilemma that these three are facing. NEW SPEAKER: Donna, Marco and I are doing our very best to provide as much information as possible in the manner and at the pace these women are comfortable with. We are trying to balance the public's right to know with the women's right to privacy. ALLISON ST. JOHN: So the women's rights to privacy, I mean I guess that is one of the issues and whether in fact the allegations will hold water if the women are maintaining their privacy. MARK SAUER: It seems you have two courts here, you have a process for sexual harassment and complaints, obviously if it gets to the criminal situation that could be filed and Marco Gonzales still is threatening the criminal complaints could be filed or asked through the civil process but you also have the court of public opinion and Carl, we talked about this the other day on the roundtable show is there enough pressure that can be brought to bear, apparently not because that is the stuff they wanted CARL LUNA: UT San Diego and the channel 10 did a poll and the poll shows that 59% of San Diego's wanted Bob Filner and that was as of Saturday. MARK SAUER: The interesting thing is if you look at those who wanted him to resign and said if he doesn't we should recall him and it came out in total 44% of respondents in total thought he should be resigned or recalled he might say only 44% I can maybe still ride this out. He doesn't have a good second act. There is no good exit strategy so there seems to be putting everything he can into preserving the mayorship. ALLISON ST. JOHN: We have one more clip just before we leave the specific allegations Marco Gonzales talked about about one of his clients and the difference about this is that it wasn't constituents this is somebody who works for the city. This is what Marco had to say. NEW SPEAKER: [Choppy recording] ALLISON ST. JOHN: Sounds like we don't, okay, all right, but basically that is the case that we have two constituents and one employee who have come forward. It was interesting what Marco said about the employee because he also elaborated, these two moves for lack of a better term the Filner headlock where he would have a pattern of putting his arm around a woman separating her from the public event that they may have been in and start whispering these things into her ear you are beautifully like to kiss you we could go on a date etc. and then the Filner dance and he specifically mentioned the city employee, his client, where Filner would make these advances according to Marco Gonzales, and though women would do everything she could to avoid a kiss on the lips and dance away from him so that Filner headlock and the Filner dance we were introduced to this morning. ALLISON ST. JOHN: we also have in studio with the somebody who is a bit of an expert on employment law Patty Perez is an employment attorney forfounder and president of Puente consulting piggy so much for joining us, Patty thank you for having me and she's an expert in legal expert of years of employment law and resource management you have a lot of perspective on sexual harassment suits. What would a victim have to prove in order to succeed in making a claim or a lawsuit of sexual-harassment? PATTY PEREZ: You know there are a couple of different levels. Certainly from the legal perspective if this case does in fact move forward the employee would be suing under California law called the fair employment and housing act and it is important to distinguish because it is a law that is meant to protect employees, so the constituents would likely not qualified to sue under that particular statute, perhaps under a different statute, but not under that one. If the employee were to move forward under the fair employment and housing act there would be a legal claim there were a couple different elements that would need to be proven. The first is that the conduct that the woman was exposed to would need to be unwelcome and that would be looked at from both a subjective and objective perspective. So, from a reasonable woman perspective, what a reasonable woman in her shoes find this offensive but she would also have to prove that it was subjectively unwelcome to her that the time it was occurring. That would be this first heard of the second hurdle would be that that behavior would need to either be severe, excuse me, and typically involve some form of physical contact. In a typical scenario. And if not severe, than the behavior would need to be pervasive. So it would need to occur with sufficient frequency to make it fall within the legal realm. And the final element is that you would need to prove that it unreasonably interfered with her workplace. ALLISON ST. JOHN: Okay this is for a court claim rather than a claim against the city? PATTY PEREZ: This is for an actual claim of illegal conduct ALLISON ST. JOHN: A lawsuit because what we have if I'm wrong correct me, is a claim against the city and potential threat of lawsuits and from what you heard at the press conference today, do you feel like these conditions that Patty just outlined are pretty much filled? MARK SAUER: Right, I think the three Marco Gonzalez, Donna Frye and Cory Briggs are emphatically stating that the sorts of conditions are certainly and then some, the threshold is met in spades, as it were so that is what they are putting forth. The political ground, in the public realm in the court of opinion is this enough to not have the women come forward, just ask what happened to them characterized in specifics is certainly open to debate right now. CARL LUNA: And it becomes the issue as the pressure builds against similar but shorter recall there is no leverage to bring them about even the lawsuits alone in the sexual claims could go through the process that does not constitute his removal from office on West grand juries can win, district attorneys can win he was using city resources for his own alleged predatory behaviors that could be some criminal matters. AMITA SHARMA: Let's talk about practicalities, though, he has women on his staff, he has (inaudible) happens to be an attorney herself. He has a woman by the name of Judy von Kalinowski who is the interim director of the city's permanent human resources Department. Anyway, so if on the one hand the Donna Frye is saying Bob Filner is tragically unsafe for any woman to approach, how does city business get done if that truly is if he still has women on his staff you have women in the city attorney's office who are being told by the city attorney we don't want you to go to the Mayor's office unescorted. CARL LUNA: That produces a rest before some degree of paralysis damage to 3 C St. you can't conduct business as normal, would you take your daughter to work at the mayor's office on take your daughter to work day, all those issues the face of the mayor when he travels around the countrythis is going to undermine his authority but I don't think that's Bob Filner's major concern right now he's fighting for his political survival his reputation and apparently has the going of to believe that he can ride this out. MARK SAUER: It's interesting that Filner believes that he can write this out his statement is that the operations of city government will not be negatively impacted. You must have to respond to that a little bit with amusement, because as we are seen, how can it not be impacted with everything swirling around. AMITA SHARMA: And what about from a law enforcement perspective did we hear any details at the press conference today that would have motivated inspired law enforcement to get involved. CARL LUNA: There was confident about his security detail, again, was the mayor using city resources to gauge and recently illicit or illegal practices, then you are moving toward Rico sort of things of this sort of large conspiracy, you touch the money there's a whole other avenue that comes down here so it's a mess no matter how you look at it. MARK SAUER: And his cell phone, Amita, you have a story today on that. AMITA SHARMA: We spoke with his former fiancée Bronwyn Ingram who broke up with him last week and she said you know what inspired, what actually prompted her to break up with him is that she found he started texting sexually explicit messages to other women in her presence, setting up dates with them and she just couldn't tolerate it any longer. Now she says she doesn't have any first-hand knowledge about the sexual harassment allegations but she herself, I mean, she's been a confidant of his, she herself said that she doesn't understand how city work can get done and she also lent her voice to this cry for him to resign. CARL LUNA: Yeah, and one thing that you see running in common with politicians being able to come back from a sexual scandal of this nature is that the woman in their life stands by them, and when they don't typically ultimately undermines an effective former fiancé is calling on him to resign as substantiating at least the aroma of all these allegations out there for lack of a better word. It is again not looking good for the mayor. AMITA SHARMA: There's another interesting point that I want to bring up about what Bronwyn said, very quickly is that aside from a sexual-harassment allegations we've heard numerous allegations about how he treats his staff and what Bronwyn says is that she's witnessed a severe deterioration in the mayor's ability to engage with anyone in a civil manner. If that is the case, how long can he keep this up. CARL LUNA: He will try to keep it up until such time as either a legal authority or the voters tell him he can't do it anymore. ALLISON ST. JOHN: Okay that is the big question how long can he keep it up we were going to go for a break but when we come back another element of what the mayor announced this morning as he is going to appoint Walter Ekard as chief operating officer of the city he was for 14 years in charge of the county is the chief administrative officer down there so he's put his reputation on the line and we will hear what he has to say about this coming up after the break. And you are listening to Midday Edition here and KPBS I am Allison St. John and we have in studio to talk about the ongoing turmoil at City Hall relating to sexual harassment charges against Mayor Bob Filner KPBS Senior editor Mark Sauer. We also have Carl Luna, a political science at Mesa college and Patty Perez who's an employment attorney and an expert on sexual harassment cases and also now joining us is David Peters is a psychotherapist with an office in Mission Valley to talk a little bit about the victims and why it is and why it's so difficult for the victims to come forward before we do that we will hear from Walt Ekard who's been appointed by the Mayor is the interim chief operating officer for the city of San Diego. He has built up a reputation over more than a decade as a very fiscal conservative manager at the County of San Diego and here are his comments, here's the interview earlier this morning. So Mr. Ekard, you're the longest-serving chief administrative officer for the county in recent times. You serve there for 12 years, built up a pretty good reputation, why put their reputation on the line here for a Mayor in trouble? WALTER EKARD: What about putting on the line for the Mayor in trouble and here to serve the city of San Diego. I believe in good government. I think they need some experienced leadership in moving, continuing to move the city forward under the circumstances. We've got 10,000+ employees serving 1 million people spending 3 billion in tax dollars and what we do here is pretty important stuff. So I see it as coming in and doing what I can and doing what I can to keep the city focus, city staff and operations focused on the city of San Diego that's why am here. ALLISON ST. JOHN: What did he tell you about the allegations of sexual harassment that convinced you to join his administration a very difficult time? WALTER EKARD: We've not talked about any specifics. He has volunteered to be the same thing that he has said to the public, nothing different and I have no other information regarding that. I'm here to serve the city of San Diego and again, to try to channel the energy of 1.1 million people and to continuing to serve. We will let the other circumstances play out as they will. ALLISON ST. JOHN: so now you are conservative, you have a reputation of conservative fiscal management. The mayor is a progressive, many Republicans would like to see him out, why have you decided to join him? WALTER EKARD: Again, I'm joining the city to help here to help the city do it needs to be done with respect to again spending $3 billion of taxpayer money. I am a fiscal conservative and a relative relatively conservative Republican but I also believe in the government, efficient government, effective government I spent my career building organizations in making them successful and I'm hoping they can do that here at the city, at the same time attempting to move them forward during this period of time. ALLISON ST. JOHN: Are you taking on the job at the request of the Mayor? WALTER EKARD: Yes, he asked me if I would be willing to be the interim COO. He actually has asked me in the past if I wanted the permanent job. I don't. I'm retired. Coming out of retirement to try and help the city during a difficult time. ALLISON ST. JOHN: Some might say that you're providing subjects: political coverage for him, how do you react to that? WALTER EKARD: I guess I wouldn't agree. I'm not sure. I mean, I ran a successful government. But the fact is I'm not exactly a household name. I daresay that 99 of 100 people in San Diego would not know who I was. I'm, there's a lot of high-profile powerful people involved on both sides of that issue. With respect to the mayor. And I hardly think the average San Diego is going to be swayed by opinion one way or the other because I'm here. I'm just here because I believe in government. This is my hometown. I want the city to succeed and move forward as best you can and that's what I'll do. ALLISON ST. JOHN: And how do you factor in the financial risk the mayor may pose to the city now in terms of costly legal battles. WALTER EKARD: That is not something I have not considered and frankly in the greater scheme of things when you're spending 3 billion in tax dollars to do a lot of really important services, that is my focus at this point. We will let the other sort out and deal with it with necessary when it comes. ALLISON ST. JOHN: Just one last question. Were you involved in overseeing many cases of sexual harassment at the county, are you familiar with this process? WALTER EKARD: I know how the process works. But I cannot recall. I have to think about that. 13 ½ years I can't recall specifically whether or what, how many cases we might have had there, but not very many. I mean I understand how it works but I've not had a lot of dealings with the specifics. They are typically handled either by an equal opportunity office, or an ethics office and that sort of thing. ALLISON ST. JOHN: Did you agree to serve unconditionally, or are there conditions? WALTER EKARD: There are some conditions. I indicated to the mayor that I run a government where people are valued and respected for what they do. I am very, as I said very passionate about what government does and I believe we do very good work. I indicated him I expect him and he has agreed to treat any city employees he comes in contact with with the kind of respect that I always have done with regard to any government employee. So I expect him to treat people that are working for me in a respectful manner and I expect that hopefully the culture of the city of San Diego will be to respect and value employees. ALLISON ST. JOHN: Okay we will let you go. That is Walter Ekart who was just appointed to the job of the chief administrative officer at the city of San Diego under Mayor Bob Filner. Thank you so much for joining us, Mr. Ekart. WALTER EKARD: My pleasure. ALLISON ST. JOHN: So Carl Luna is here in studio and Carl, when you hear that what immediately leaps to mind? Is this a man who is naïve, is he politically motivated, what would motivate him to take on the job? CARL LUNA: I believe Mr. Ekard is taking on the jobs for the reason he said he wants to serve the city of San Diego and he was probably one of the names of shortlist that the American At this point was interesting is we wanted to start. We seem to be getting the city manager system creeping in the smear is setting up staff to run the city where he deals with this. If he has still been annealed counselor manager system is a mere city Council he probably could've survived this a little easier because his was involved in the running of the city but he's the mayor he's in charge and he cannot delegate that effectively and still maintain the political power down at City Hall. ALLISON ST. JOHN: Do you think the average San Diego should feel a sense of relief that a man like Walt Ekard is now taking that job? CARL LUNA: I think the list of problems at the city is looking at, that's the least of the issues, they want to know did the mayor do it or not and is he leaving. ALLISON ST. JOHN: I guess if you doesn't change his behavior Walt Ekard isn't going to stick around either? CARL LUNA: That would be another devastating blow to lose another person from the inner circle. MARK SAUER: The other question today is why don't women come forward why haven't we seen it more forcefully ALLISON ST. JOHN: That is the big question today because of the women coming forward some people would argue, where's the beef, as it were. So that's where he wanted to turn to you, David Peters, you are a psychotherapist and have obviously counseled many women perhaps who has been in this experience. Explain to us why it is so difficult for the victims to come forward? DAVID PETERS: Well it's a complex situation. We've got someone who is a leader, a charismatic leader who is in charge he has a following, particular political following. There's a lot of people who want the leader to succeed and when you have a lot of people wanting the leader to succeed to come out and say well I know something about this leader that will reveal his character to be completely different you know you're going to run into trouble and then when you added the sexual element to it there's instantly an element of shame that's experienced as you saw during the news conference none of the victims were there but it was a hornets nest of interviews. It became rather hostile for some in the press and filled with emotional tension. You can imagine if you are a woman who's already experienced the abuse in her place of work assuming the allegations are true she sent out to truck with strangers about her physical body perhaps about the relationship she had, about whether she found herself liking him, or attracted to him, or loving him. It can become very intrusive. And people who follow the leader and believe in him will turn anger against anyone who's going to want them to change their opinion particularly in such an ugly way that this could turn out. ALLISON ST. JOHN: We have seen some history of that, haven't we, Carl, of people turning against the accuser? CARL LUNA: Life didn't go very well for Monica Lewinsky after this, Anita Hill, we have a tendency in the he said she said to back the he and take it out on the she, so I don't blame the people for not wanting to go public until the last possible moment. MARK SAUER: And how does the system protect these people? PATTY PEREZ: One issue that's really important I was asked earlier about what the legality of it is any (inaudible) before the lawsuit but the important component is the city is on notice and they are legally obligated to perform an investigation. That may not cover the same elements that we discovered earlier another element to for the zoom and particularly that they haven't identified in other arenas they might be still be subjected to for example internal interviews a decent investigation so the city will perform the investigation whether or not the lawsuits move forward they might find out if there are other potential victims, other allegations and think it's particularly important here because in addition to the sexual harassment claims that have been brought there are claims of bullying, inappropriate behavior and other types of behavior that may subject the mayor to discipline whether it's underside of normal standards of expected behavior or perhaps under particular guidelines that the city has said he is bound by. MARK SAUER: And he seemed to admit that Friday, Thursday it is, in his videotapes he said I understand I've intimidated some of these people. How does that play into the legal process? PATTY PEREZ: Absolutely, there are two. That's why I was careful to say earlier in my answer we are talking about the legal elements of this are and we are talking about what effect this might have on his job beyond whether he decides to quit on his own but on the one hand he acknowledged that he's intimidated women and they behaved inappropriately and he needed to change on the other hand he said he was not guilty of sexual harassment. They are two different things. He may or may not be guilty of the unlawful behavior but it sounds like he's at least acknowledging that his behavior fell below the expected level of what's expected of someone in his position. ALLISON ST. JOHN: Beyond going to a courtroom is there way for the women's privacy to be protected under the process that the city would undertake if there was a complaint filed? How much protection is there for the women under the process? PATTY PEREZ: There is a protection of their privacy. It's not limited. It depends on how the investigation is conducted, who conducts it, whether it's connected under the offices of attorney client privilege but for the most part in a typical scenario it would be an investigation into confidentially report that is confidential the people of what's usually referred to as the need to know group might find some information out so for example the city Council might get a copy of the confidential report but there are certain ways that the women's privacy can and should again chose not the people who have brought allegations but what typically happens in the investigation as you uncover other evidence. ALLISON ST. JOHN: We're speaking with Patty Perez, who's an employment attorney with Puente consulting and we also have David Peters who is a psychotherapist with an office in Mission Valley. So David, do you want to make a comment on that? DAVID PETERS: Just picture if you will the investigation. Here's a number of women who have already experienced shame and humiliation from a supervisor assuming that is true who then have to go through an investigation, the question by people they do not know, the questions will be very intimate questions. The questions, in order to give a fair and balanced interview for the allegations, they will be asked about their initiations. Did you hug him, did you touch him, this sort of thing. And that effect, that stuff that must be done questions that must be desperate for victim you're getting repetition of the shame, you get a repetition of I'm exposing my intimate life or ideas about my intimate life to the public and consider in our media age, what is the chances of someone's identity truly being kept secret. Those are not really really strong chances. And then, you can see members of the press or other political organizations looking into their backgrounds, wanting to dig up the rest of the story for salacious reasons. So, they could be more victimized by the questioning and the interrogation and the press that they were even by the original incident. ALLISON ST. JOHN: It was interesting because at the press conference Mark, there were people shouting give us a name, give us a name it sounded like a witchhunt. MARK SAUER: That was precisely the point that Donna Frye was making she is so adamant that this process the pressure can be brought to get the mayor to step down about the identities of these folks and having them to come back into any public forum on this. DAVID PETERS: It would certainly serve the victims well in protecting them and allowing them to go into the process of healing and not have to be in a state of fear for the next year or two as this unfolds. ALLISON ST. JOHN: I guess the question is whether in fact the mayor will respond to this unless someone does step forward and I wanted to follow up with you, David, about the mayor, his behavior that it is a persistent, long-term set of behaviors. This is not old news, the congressman that he replaced back in Congress, decades back was lost his seat as a result of sexual harassment. So here we have a man who has seen colleagues with their position as a result of this. Why is he not able to control his behavior? DAVID PETERS: There's a good question. I can only theorize him because I have not met him in a mental health professional is not going to diagnose someone I've not met but the picture that's been developed is one of some sexual compulsivity along with a really powerful strain of denial if it is all true. The situation is one where even in his election to the office in his running, he was accused of sexual harassment in the past, so, to know that your career came close to a district event and to not be able to control yourself in a new setting and repeated offenses if the allegations are true, now you've got a very serious disorder at this point. And this is frequently when I'm treating someone in this situation, they want to stop, they can't stop. They are truly out of control and it has a compulsive, addictive nature to it. ALLISON ST. JOHN: However much they may protest the opposite. We have a minute left and I wanted to throw one lastquestion to you, Carl, politically speaking the Democrats, all three of the accusers are Democrats originally the parties would've said this is a good start, give him a chance, what's happening now? CARL LUNA: Francine Busby was going to bring party leaders together over the weekend. I don't know how that played outrageous MARK SAUER: She couldn't do it because so many were tied up with pride. CARL LUNA: All the events going on but people have to make a choice how much do you want to tether yourself to Bob Filner's ship should be sinking and with a lot of major defectors already from city Council to local elected officials. I don't think he's going to have the party in his corner to protect him. ALLISON ST. JOHN: We're going to have to leave it there of course there will be more discussion about this on evening edition tonight and as we progress through the week here on KPBS I'd like to think my guest senior editor Mark Sauer thank you Mark for being here. We heard from Walter Ekard, Patty Perez, employment attorney thank you for much for coming into studio Patty and David Peters, psychotherapist, thank you for being with us. DAVID PETERS: Always good joining you, Allison ALLISON ST. JOHN: Shedding some light on the difficult situation and Carl Luna, political science professor of Mesa college, thank you. CARL LUNA: Thank you so much.
Former supporters of Mayor Bob Filner provided more detailed descriptions of allegations of sexual harassment against the mayor in an emotional press conference Monday, hours after the mayor renewed his promise not to resign.
Former City Councilwoman and Filner staffer Donna Frye and progressive lawyers Cory Briggs and Marco Gonzalez read descriptions from women who have worked with or for the mayor, but did not provide the women's names. Gonzalez said his client, who worked for the mayor for six months, would be filing a sexual harassment complaint with the city.
Filner renewed his refusal to resign Monday morning, saying "as a citizen of this country, I also expect — and am entitled to — due process, and the opportunity to respond in a fair and impartial venue to specific allegations." Some protestors at the press conference held signs reading "Due Process For Mayor Filner."
The mayor also announced a new lineup of staff Monday morning.
Frye described two constituents who had encounters with the mayor. The first woman reported in a sworn affidavit that Filner grabbed her and kissed her when she met with him to discuss a downtown financial concern earlier this year.
The second woman volunteered for Filner's mayoral campaign, then met with him twice after he was elected. In the second meeting, Filner kissed the woman, "jamming his tongue down her throat," Frye said.
The woman had given Filner a ride to the meeting and felt embarrassed to refuse him a ride home. When they got in the car, Filner groped the woman's breasts, Frye said.
Gonzalez described what he said were commonly-used terms: "the Filner headlock," meaning the mayor wrapping his arm around a woman and directing her to a place where they can be alone, and "the Filner dance," when the mayor attempts to kiss a woman and she pulls away.
He also said Filner told his client that she would do a better job at work "without her panties on."
Gonzalez said the mayor's video apology on Thursday, in which Filner said he has "failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times, I have intimidated them" is an admission of guilt. While Gonzalez said his client will file a sexual harassment claim, decisions of whether to file lawsuits have not yet been made.
Gonzalez and Frye said their goal is to protect the women, who are reluctant to reveal their identities because of the scrutiny they might face.
"When you go forward as a woman who has been sexually harassed, the questions are, what do you look like, what were you wearing, what was your role?" Gonzalez said.
KPBS and inewsource have been investigating sexual harassment allegations against the mayor for several months.
Sources have described the mayor’s behavior as including inappropriate comments, kissing and groping. None of the women KPBS has spoken with have agreed to allow their circumstances or their names to be used for publication because of fear of retribution.
The mayor also released a statement on Friday that declared his innocence in the face of increasing calls for him to abandon office. “I am confident that a fair and independent investigation will support my innocence with respect to any charges of sexual harassment,” the statement said.
On Friday night, Councilman David Alvarez said he had learned of “first hand information regarding sexual harassment allegations” and reported Filner to the city’s Human Resources department.
In addition, Filner’s chief of staff, Vince Hall, resigned Friday.
Hall used Twitter to communicate only twice during his time with Filner, first lauding his new job by tweeting “I am very honored to have been selected to serve as chief of staff to Mayor Bob Filner” and finishing with “as a lifelong activist for women’s rights and equality, I feel I must resign effectively today.”