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Beset San Diego Mayor Says He Didn't Get Harassment Training

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announced at a news conference last week that he intended to seek professional help for sexual harassment issues.
Bill Wechter
Getty Images
San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announced at a news conference last week that he intended to seek professional help for sexual harassment issues.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, accused by at least eight women of sexually harassing them, never received a mandated training course on sexual harassment from the city, according to his attorney.

Harvey Berger says the city failed to meet its legal requirement and therefore should foot the mayor's legal bills. Filner and the city of San Diego are being sued by the mayor's former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson.

The Associated Press reports that "Berger said the training was scheduled but the city trainer canceled and did not reschedule." Berger laid out his arguments in a letter to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith. Parts of the letter were made public Wednesday.

City council members have unanimously refused to fund Filner's defense and are suing the mayor for any damages the city may incur dealing with McCormack Jackson's lawsuit, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

"If Bob Filner is engaged in unlawful conduct and the city is held liable, he will have to reimburse us every penny the city pays and its attorney fees," Goldsmith told the U-T.

Member station KPBS reports that when McCormack Jackson went public with her allegations earlier this month:

"She described Filner's penchant for putting her into a headlock and pulling her about, while whispering sexually explicit comments in her ear. She said the mayor often told her he loved her, wanted to kiss her, told her he wanted to see her naked and that she should work without panties at City Hall; and that he wanted to 'consummate their relationship.' "

McCormack Jackson, whose suit seeks unspecified damages, alleges the city's Democratic mayor also acted inappropriately with other women. She and her attorney, Gloria Allred, are among many who have demanded the mayor resign.

Filner, 70, has refused to step down. As KPBS reports, he has acknowledged that he's made terrible mistakes and engaged in "intimidating conduct." The mayor says he's apologized to his staff and plans to address his behavior by entering an inpatient rehab clinic for two weeks, starting Aug. 5.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Korva Coleman is a newscaster for NPR.
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