Filner Says He Doesn’t Remember Alleged Harassment Of City Employee At Park
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Credit: Associated Press
Disgraced former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner gave a 90-minute deposition Wednesday in a lawsuit filed by a city employee who claims he sexually harassed her.
Filner provided testimony in the case of Stacy McKenzie, who alleges Filner grabbed her from behind, put her in a headlock and rubbed her breasts at an event at a city park. She sued him and the city, and is seeking $500,000 in damages.
The district manager for the city's Parks and Recreation Department alleges the incident took place in April 2013 at an event at North DeAnza Cove in Mission Bay.
"(Filner) said he didn't remember anything about the incident," her lawyer, Dan Gilleon, told City News Service.
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Instead, the ex-mayor reiterated the sort of comments he made around the time he stepped down, in August 2013, apologizing and saying he was unaware that he was harming women, according to the attorney.
"Physically, he looked good — healthy, at peace," Gilleon said. "At first, it was tense, as you'd expect. But he's a longtime politician, a U.S. congressman. He has a charm there."
McKenzie said last year that at the park function, Filner inquired if she had a boyfriend or a husband, then asked her on a date.
She said she got away, but the then-mayor pursued her across the park, came up from behind, and put her in what became known as the "Filner headlock."
As he held McKenzie, Filner allegedly asked two other female city employees, "Isn't she great?" He then said to all three women, "Just to let you know, I like to get really close to my city employees," according to the lawsuit.
Filner's former communications chief, Irene McCormack Jackson, also sued the mayor and the city. The litigation was settled earlier this year for $250,000.
About 20 women came forward last year to allege that Filner made inappropriate advances toward them over his years in politics.
In a criminal case, Filner pleaded guilty to sexually harassing three women and was sentenced to probation and three months of home confinement.
The City Attorney's Office, which is defending against the lawsuit, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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