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San Diego To Pay $99K To Settle Filner Sexual Harassment Claims

Photo credit: Associated Press

Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, right, sits with his lawyer, Earll Pott, in Superior Court Judge Robert J. Trentacosta's courtroom, Dec. 9, 2013.

The City Council Tuesday settled a lawsuit brought by two of about 20 women who alleged they were sexually harassed by former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.

The council, on an 8-0 vote, gave final approval to a deal to pay $99,000 to settle claims by nurse Michelle Tyler and Katherine Ragazzino, a former Marine.

Tyler contended that she went to see Filner in June 2013 about getting help with federal benefits for Ragazzino. Tyler was a caretaker for Ragazzino, who suffered a traumatic brain injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during her service in Iraq, and they were facing red tape at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Filner, a 10-term congressman, offered help, "but at a price," notably a "personal and sexual relationship," according to attorney Gloria Allred, who was retained by the women for a short time.

Tyler and Ragazzino filed a sexual harassment claim with the city and a federal lawsuit. In addition, the Navy filed a claim with the city to reimburse Ragazzino's care related to the incident.

The settlement, according to the city documents, resolves all of the women's claims plus the Navy's, which will receive around $1,200. The balance will go to the plaintiffs and their current lawyer, Carla DiMare.

Filner was elected mayor in November 2012 and took office one month later. Sexual harassment claims began surfacing the following July, with the total growing to around 20 women, and he resigned at the end of August.

Later that year, he admitted in court that he grabbed and fondled three women while in office, and was sentenced to three years probation, along with three months home detention.

Several women sued Filner and the city. Former communications chief Irene McCormick Jackson settled for $250,000. Another former employee settled her claim in exchange for an official apology and a proclamation of "Peggy Shannon Day" in the city.

None of the council members spoke publicly on the settlement. One member of the public criticized City Attorney Jan Goldsmith for dragging out the case for so long, but the City Attorney's Office defended its handling of the case.

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