One of several female staffers accusing San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of sexual harassment has brought a suit against her former boss, opening up about the allegations at a press conference Monday.
Ex-Filner communications director Irene McCormack Jackson, 57, said the Democratic mayor made her feel ashamed, frightened and violated. “Women were viewed by Mayor Filner as sexual objects or stupid idiots,” McCormack Jackson said. “I am coming forward today to lay the blame at the feet of the person responsible.... He is not fit to be mayor of our great city. He is not fit to hold any public office.” She further told NBC San Diego that the former congressman once told her she would look better if she took off her panties while she was working.
“The past six months turned out to be the worst time of my entire working life,” said McCormack Jackson, who used to be a reporter and a manager for the Port of San Diego.
High-profile attorney Gloria Allred is representing McCormack Jackson, while several other female staffers in Filner's office who made anonymous allegations of sexual harrassment in past weeks have yet to get legal representation.
During the news conference, Allred called on Filner, 70, to resign, according to Politico. She also said that there were witnesses to the sexual harassment.
Filner, who made a vague apology earlier this month referring to “mistakes” he’s made in his life, responded to McCormack Jackson’s accusation.
“I do not believe these claims are valid,” the mayor said in a statement on Monday. “That is why due process is so important. I intend to defend myself vigorously and I know that justice will prevail.”
Allred said a mea culpa from Filner wouldn’t be enough. "Apologies alone will not take care of this injustice," the attorney said, according to NBC San Diego.
According to the allegations, Filner asked McCormack Jackson for a kiss just before he delivered his State of the City address in January. In February or March, he allegedly told his communications director, “Wouldn't it be great if you took off your panties and worked without them on?"
In June, Filner allegedly went into McCormack Jackson’s office and asked her when she was going to get naked. He also allegedly asked her for a kiss. The Democrat also refused to leave her office, allegedly saying, “I am the mayor. I can go anywhere I want, any time I want.”