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11th Woman Accuses Filner Of Sexual Harassment

 
11th Woman Accuses Filner Of Sexual Harassment

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Mayor Bob Filner sought a personal relationship from a  San Diego nurse who asked him to help an injured Marine ensnarled in Veterans  Administration red tape, lawyer Gloria Allred said today.

The licensed vocation nurse, Michelle Tyler, became the 11th woman to  publicly accuse Filner of unwanted sexual advances. One, former mayoral  Communications Director Irene McCormack Jackson, has retained Allred and filed  a lawsuit against Filner and the city.

The latest alleged advances took place in the mayor's office on June 11,  about one month before Filner was first accused of sexual harassment by three  of his biggest political supporters.

Allred said Tyler had seen Filner when he was a congressman because the  Marine, Katherine Ragazzino, had not been able to resolve her problems with the  VA, and he asked her to return if the issues persisted.

Ragazzino said she suffered a traumatic brain injury and Post Traumatic  Stress Disorder during her service in Iraq.

Allred said that at the latest meeting, Filner seemed willing to help  Tyler, ``but at a price.''

She said the price was a ``personal and sexual relationship'' with the  mayor.

``In other words, Mayor Filner wanted Ms. Tyler to help him fulfill his  sexual needs if she wanted his help for a deserving war veteran,'' Allred said.  ``That is not only disgusting, but a complete abuse of power that should not be  tolerated by the electorate.''

The lawyer said the women do not plan to file a lawsuit, but they want  City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to open an investigation of the mayor. Goldsmith  has said his office is investigating the allegations that have been lodged  against Filner, who started two weeks of behavioral therapy on Monday.

Tyler read a statement in which she insisted the mayor's advances were  ``absolutely unwanted.''

She said at one point during the meeting, Filner asked Ragazzino to  leave. The nurse said she thought the mayor wouldn't want her patient to hear a  discussion about her injuries, but instead, the conversation turned personal.

``He made it very clear that his expectation was that his help for  Katherine was contingent on my willingness to go to dinner with him, spend  personal time with him, be seen in public with him,'' Tyler said.

Filner rubbed her arm and told her to relax, she said.

Allred told reporters Tyler will be questioned by the Sheriff's  Department this afternoon. McCormack Jackson, her other client, was questioned  by investigators for about two hours Monday.

McCormack Jackson, 57, says Filner held her in a headlock while  demanding kisses. She also alleged the mayor told her she should work without  her panties on, that he wanted to see her naked, that he could not wait to  consummate their relationship and that he wanted to marry her.

Filner has apologized for what he called a failure to respect women and  his ``intimidating conduct'' but insists that his actions do not constitute  sexual harassment.

Many political, civic and business leaders have called for the mayor to  resign, including seven of the nine members of the City Council, the San Diego  County Democratic Party Central Committee, former Mayor Jerry Sanders, Sen.  Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles.

A poll showed that 77 percent of San Diegans want Filner to resign. The  numbers are similar throughout various demographic and political segments,  according to the canvassing of 600 adults contacted by SurveyUSA on behalf of U-T San Diego and 10News.

The respondents were also even on whether they believed the allegations  of sexual harassment or accusations of shaking down developers was more  important.

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