Another woman has come forward to accuse San Diego Mayor Bob Filner of making unwanted sexual advances, bringing the number of alleged victims to 10.
Michelle Tyler, a licensed vocational nurse, appeared alongside high-profile Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred at a press conference on Tuesday.
Tyler said she was trying to get help for an injured U.S. Marine at the mayor’s office on June 11 when the Democratic mayor touched her arm and suggested the two should date. She called the action “absolutely unwanted,” and said that Filner “made it very clear” that his help for Marine Katherine Raggazino “depended on my willingness to go out to dinner with him, spend time with him and be seen in public with him…I was only there looking for assistance for Katherine.”
A teary Raggazino, who was also at the press conference, explained how she had PTSD and a brain injury after serving in Iraq. She said she did not “appreciate being used as a bargaining chip to fulfill [Filner’s] sexual desires.”
The meeting, Allred explained, took place as a follow up to a previous one Tyler had with Filner when he was a congressman. Raggazino was also in the meeting but the mayor asked her to leave, which was when Filner made the alleged advances, said Allred. Tyler said she thought the mayor wanted to ask questions about Ragazzino’s injuries.
“Instead I was stunned to find he suddenly changed the conversation from professional to personal.” At one point, Filner called Tyler “magnificent,” urged her to relax, and asked if she was married.
Filner allegedly said, “Will you go out to dinner if I help your Marine? Can I call you?” and “If we were not here in my office, I’d like to kiss you.” Tyler repeatedly said she needed to leave and when she did, Filner said, “I’ll call you.”
Allred called for the city attorney general to investigate the claims, although she said Tyler currently does not intend to file a lawsuit. Filner’s actions were “not only disgusting but a complete abuse of power that should not be tolerated by the electorate,” said Allred.
Allred is currently representing Filner’s former director of communications, Irene McCormack Johnson, who has filed a lawsuit seeking unspecified damages. She claims Filner put her in a headlock, demanded kisses, and even suggested she come to work without underwear.
Despite weeks of accusations of sexual harassment from a number of women beginning in July—and after local and national Democratic party members asked him to resign, Filner has refused to step down. On July 26, Filner apologized and said he would enter a 2-week intensive therapy program, which started on Monday.
Filner has not yet commented on the latest claims.