NATIONAL CITY, Calif. – San Diego Mayor Bob Filner allegedly put his hand on a woman’s buttocks while the two posed for a picture, the accuser said in a news conference Wednesday.
When Dianne York, president and CEO of The Spa of La Jolla, and three of her staffers walked into their first-ever meeting with Filner three months ago, they were excited to discuss business issues. At the end of their meeting, York asked the mayor to take a picture with her.
“When we posed for the photo, there was a hand that went from my back to my buttocks. I was shocked,” she said. “It was inappropriate and I was startled at the time.”
York said coming forward now took courage and she feels there are more victims.
“I did this for the people San Diego, United States and the world,” said York, adding that she contacted the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and filed a complaint Wednesday morning about the incident.
York is one of 18 women to publicly accuse Filner of unwanted advances, ranging from groping, forced kissing to making sexual comments.
Filner’s former communications director Irene Jackson McCormack was the first women to come forward. She filed a lawsuit against the mayor and the city with the help of famed lawyer Gloria Allred.
The mayor has apologized publicly for what he called a failure to respect women and for “intimidating conduct,” but denied his actions amounted to sexual harassment.
Earlier this month, he voluntarily underwent behavioral therapy at an inpatient facility. His lawyer said the mayor was continuing therapy on an outpatient basis.
Filner, who is also mired in investigations over alleged misuse of city- issued credit cards and shakedowns of developers, has so far rebuffed calls from all nine City Council members, other officeholders and business leaders to resign.
Organizers of an effort to recall Filner are circulating petitions around the city. They need to turn in nearly 102,000 signatures to the City Clerk’s Office by Sept. 26.