What began with the complaints of three women against the San Diego mayor has snowballed into allegations of crude come-ons from more than a dozen.
Aug 7 2013, 10:16 AM ET
He was one of the early members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives. From 2007 to 2011 he chaired the House Veteran’s Affairs Committee. He represented an area that includes almost all of California’s border with Mexico. And now, at 70, he is mayor of San Diego.
Bob Filner may have begun his political life fighting for a just society as a Freedom Rider in the summer of 1961, but the former 10-term congressman, who entered a treatment facility for a two-week stay on Monday following accusations of sexual harassment, seems destined to end it in ignominy, surrounded by the stench of corruption and moral turpitude.
There is something wrong with Bob Filner, and whatever it is, two weeks of intensive therapy won’t fix it. He is being sued for sexual harassment by his former communications director. The San Diego City Council voted unanimously to sue him to recover any costs associated with that lawsuit. City attorneys have ruled he can’t be alone with a woman anymore while on city business for liability reasons. Democrats and Republicans in San Diego want him gone.
He should go. This is not a question about private conduct, but of misuse of public power.
Fresh allegations out Wednesday from two survivors of military sexual assault who sought Filner’s aid while he was in Congress accuse him of using his power to try to take advantage of women who were at their most vulnerable. The president of the National Women’s Veterans Association of America, which supports survivors of military sexual assault, says he made a play with seven or eight women who were part of her group while they were trying to get him to take their issue seriously.
“He went to dinners, asked women out to dinners, grabbed breasts, buttocks. The full gamut. Everything that is complete violation of what we stand for,” Tara Jones told CNN. “He’s a sexual predator. And he used this organization for his own personal agenda.”
The latest allegations of inappropriate behavior come on top of accusations from 11 other women, bringing the total of on-the-record named accusers to 13 in incidents dating to 2009. That is some Bob Packwood territory. Filner’s former fiancee has also accused him of verbally abusive behavior and blatant and recent sexting, and dumped him in the wake of the scandal.
“I brought this on through my own personal frailties, and the biggest monster right now is, you know, inside me, which we will deal with,” Filner told Univision before entering treatment. “I’m clearly doing something wrong,” he acknowledged earlier.
If you have not been following this story closely, here is what you need to know to get up to speed. Read the stories of the 13 women, as excerpted from reports over the past three weeks.
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