3rd woman says San Diego mayor made sexual advance
SAN DIEGO (AP) — A third woman publicly identified herself on Wednesday as a target of Mayor Bob Filner’s sexual advances, as the beleaguered leader of the nation’s eighth-largest city named his third chief of staff in less than two weeks.
Morgan Rose told KPBS that Filner repeatedly tried to kiss her at a restaurant during a meeting to discuss her campaign to promote child welfare. Filner was a congressman at the time.
Rose and her colleagues first met Filner in January 2009 to seek support for America’s Angel, a group she founded, according to KPBS.
At a later meeting in a restaurant, Rose, a psychologist for the San Diego Unified School District, said Filner told her, ”‘Your eyes have bewitched me,’” moved next to her in a booth and tried to kiss her on the mouth.
“I started to ask him, ‘What would your wife say if she was sitting here?’ and he just laughed this really odd laugh as if that was the craziest thing he had ever heard,” Rose said in a video posted on the KPBS website (http://bit.ly/1bO27yn ).
After he tried to kiss her, Rose said, she told him, “Would you please go back so we can continue this meeting? This is an important topic.”
Rose told the station that Filner tried to kiss her four times before getting a call on his cellphone. He told her needed to return to his office and left, she said.
Lena Lewis, a Filner spokeswoman, didn’t immediately respond to phone and email messages seeking comment.
Filner named Lee Burdick his chief of staff at City Hall on Wednesday, just 10 days after Tony Buckles, his former congressional chief of staff, took the job. A press release said Buckles had helped prepare Burdick for the position and would return to Washington.
Filner had made no mention of the job being temporary when he announced Buckles’ appointment.
Burdick was previously director of legal affairs for Filner and a former Port of San Diego commissioner. She was elevated to deputy chief of staff in a major staff shake-up that followed a series of explosive allegations of sexual misconduct against Filner this month.
“I am taking on this responsibility fully aware of the allegations and concerns confronting the mayor and the city at this moment in history,” she said in a statement released by the mayor’s office. “After serious introspection, I must step forward to help the city through these challenging times.”
Filner is 70 and divorced. He has resisted mounting calls to resign as San Diego’s first Democratic leader in 20 years.
Filner apologized earlier this month for disrespecting and sometimes intimidating women in an extraordinary video released immediately after the initial allegations surfaced. He said, “I need help,” and that he would be unable to lead San Diego if his behavior didn’t change.
Irene McCormack Jackson, who took a $50,000 annual pay cut to become Filner’s communications director in January, on Monday became the first woman to publicly identify herself as a target of the mayor’s advances, claiming in a lawsuit that he asked her to work without panties, demanded kisses, told her he wanted to see her naked and dragged her in headlocks while whispering in her ear.
Political consultant Laura Fink said in an interview that aired Tuesday on KPBS that Filner patted her buttocks at a campaign event in 2005 when she was deputy campaign manager for the former 10-term congressman.