San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's former communications director has
filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him, creating new problems
for a city that has struggled with recent civic scandals.
Though Mayor Filner has acknowledged "personal frailties," he
says the claims are not valid and he intends to fight them in court.
Since President Clinton survived attempts to drive him from
office, some politicians have increasingly sought to ride out sex-
related scandals. But such scandals often only damage both the
politicians embroiled in them and the constituencies they serve,
"The longer the mayor hangs on, the political problem worsens for
him and for the city long-term," says David McCuan, a political
scientist at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif. "The
longer he holds out, the harder it will be to rebuild faith in the
most public of offices - that of mayor of a big city."
Irene McCormack Jackson filed the lawsuit against Filner Monday.
She is represented by Gloria Allred, the attorney for several high-
profile clients, including Sharon Bialek, who accused then-GOP
presidential candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment, as well as
Rachel Uchitel, one of Tiger Woods's mistresses.
"I am coming forward today to lay the blame at the feet of the
person responsible, Mayor Bob Filner," Ms. McCormack Jackson said
after detailing what she described as the mayor's harassment of her.
"He is not fit to be mayor of our great city. He is not fit to hold
any public office."
McCormack Jackson said Filner asked her to "work without her
panties on," placed her in a headlock "and moved around as a ragdoll
while he whispered sexual comments in my ear," and said he wanted to
have sex with her, among other alleged incidents.
"Women were viewed by Mayor Filner as sexual objects or stupid
idiots," said McCormack Jackson, a former reporter who resigned from
her position as communications director in June. "His behavior made
me feel ashamed, frightened, and violated."
Filner responded to McCormack Jackson's allegations in a
statement late Monday.
"I do not believe these claims are valid," Filner said. "That is
why due process is so important. I intend to defend myself
vigorously and I know that justice will prevail." Despite having
admitted on the air to Univision that he "brought this on through my
own personal frailties," Filner has resisted calls to resign.
The president of the San Diego Regional Economic Development
Authority has said that the scandal has already been a distraction;
Filner reportedly had to cancel an Asia trip. …