Skip to main content

ALERT: KPBS 89.5FM is undergoing scheduled upgrade work which may result in a temporary signal outage. Click here to listen on our radio stream.

LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Vaccines | Racial Justice

Settlement Reached In Filner Harassment Case

A tentative settlement was announced Friday to head off a trial in a civil lawsuit for a woman who said she was sexually harassed by former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner.

Trial had been scheduled to begin Friday in San Diego Superior Court for the legal action by Benelia Santos-Hunter, a former executive assistant on the mayor's office staff.

Terms of the deal weren't immediately disclosed, and the City Attorney's office declined to return a message seeking comment.

The proposed settlement is scheduled to go before the City Council for consideration in closed session Tuesday.

Santos-Hunter contended that Filner harassed her by kissing her on the forehead, staring into her eyes and asking if she realized how beautiful she was.

On Valentine's Day 2013, Filner tried to hug and kiss her without her consent, and said things like "You need me as your lover" and "Be my Valentine," according to her complaint.

The suit accused the former mayor of other misconduct, including locking Santos-Hunter in a room, placing her in what became known as the "Filner headlock," touching her buttocks and attempting to touch her breasts.

Filner took office in December 2012, but his administration began to unravel the following summer amid allegations of various types of misconduct, including sexual harassment.

The city settled some other lawsuits involving the ex-mayor — who now lives in Los Angeles.

His mayoral communications chief, Irene McCormick Jackson, settled for $250,000.

Two women, who sought the former congressman's help with the federal Department of Veterans Affairs accepted a $99,000 payout. Michelle Tyler and Katherine Ragazzino alleged that he sought sexual favors in exchange for his assistance.

A woman who provided city assistance to seniors, Peggy Shannon, settled in exchange for an official apology and a proclamation of "Peggy Shannon Day" in the city.

Last month, a state appellate court ruled that a claim by Jeri Dynes that Filner touched her buttocks at an event for dog owners in May 2013 was filed too late.

Filner — who admitted in court in December 2013 that he grabbed and fondled three women while in office and was sentenced to three years probation, along with three months home detention — recently told the online publication Voice of San Diego that he "never sexually harassed anybody."


San Diego News Now podcast branding

San Diego news; when you want it, where you want it. Get local stories on politics, education, health, environment, the border and more. New episodes are ready weekday mornings. Hosted by Anica Colbert and produced by KPBS, San Diego and the Imperial County's NPR and PBS station.

  • Need help keeping up with the news that matters most? Get the day's top news — ranging from local to international — straight to your inbox each weekday morning.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Curious San Diego banner

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or sign up for our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.