Second Filner accuser comes forward - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Second Filner accuser comes forward

Posted: Updated:
Laura Fink seen in this video screen image. (Image provided by KPBS) Laura Fink seen in this video screen image. (Image provided by KPBS)

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A second woman came forward Tuesday to publicly accuse San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment.

Laura Fink told KPBS that Filner patted her posterior and made a crude joke at a crowded fundraising event in 2005, when she was his deputy campaign manager. She now runs a nonprofit political consulting firm.

Fink said she subsequently wrote Filner an email, explaining she felt "totally humiliated by this event," and requested an apology.

She told KPBS that days later, Filner "pulled me aside and mumbled an 'I'm sorry,' and then followed it up with, 'I didn't really understand what had happened."

When asked why she waited so long to come forward, Fink said that at the time, she was starting to build her political career.

"(Filner) has a reputation for swift retribution and really long grudges, and I didn't want to be on the wrong end of that."

On Monday, Filner's former communications director held a news conference with her attorney to allege that the mayor held her in a headlock while demanding kisses. Irene McCormack Jackson, 57, also alleged he told her she should work without her panties on, that he wanted to see her naked, that he could not wait to consummate their relationship, and that he wanted to marry her.

She said Filner made her feel "ashamed, frightened and violated" during her six months of employment in the mayor's office, and that he is unfit for the job.

McCormack Jackson hired high-profile Los Angeles-based women's rights attorney Gloria Allred to file a lawsuit against Filner and the city of San Diego.

The mayor said Monday evening that he was "saddened" by her allegations but that there would be "a better understanding of the situation" once he received due process.

Numerous city officials and other area civic leaders have called on the mayor to resign, both because of the nature of the allegations and concerns that he will no longer be effective in his leadership role.

Fink told KPBS that she was escorting Filner to different tables at the fundraiser when someone praised her by saying "this girl has worked her ass off for you."

According to Fink, the then-congressman told her to turn around.

"As a staffer, I know it sounds silly to say that you just do it, but you just do it," Fink said.

After she turned, Filner "took his hands, patted my posterior, laughed, and said, 'No, it's still there!'" Fink said.

She said she was in shock for a moment, "and it certainly gave the people at the table pause."

Filner brushed off criticism of his treatment of her, according to Fink.

She said she sent him an email demanding an apology, and several days later he mumbled "I'm sorry."

Fink said she plans to contact a hotline that was set up by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department for women to lodge allegations about sexual harassment by Filner. The law enforcement agency was tabbed to investigate any such complaints.

Filner is restricted from meeting with women alone at city facilities, part of an agreement by City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and Harvey Berger, a lawyer privately hired by the mayor to fend off the sexual harassment allegations. The mayor initially apologized for his behavior, but has since said he will be vindicated by due process.

McCormack Jackson was a longtime San Diego Union-Tribune reporter who left to work for the Port of San Diego before accepting a job with Filner's office in January.

The sexual harassment allegations were first aired publicly by three of Filner's former political allies: former Councilwoman Donna Frye and lawyers Cory Briggs and Marcos Gonzalez. They said the alleged victims were two constituents and a city employee but did not publicly identify them.

Powered by Frankly
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2018 Midwest Television, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy, and Terms of Service, and Ad Choices.