San Diego Mayor Bob Filner: Conflict With Speaking Engagement?

Image: San Diego Mayor Bob Filner: Conflict With Speaking Engagement?

Wednesday, 17 Jul 2013 06:50 PM

By Ken Mandel

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San Diego Mayor Bob Filner remains scheduled to deliver the address at a benefit for sexual assault victims, even as the elected official faces sexual harassment allegations and calls for him to resign.

Filner, 70, is set to talk at an event for the National Military Women Veterans Association of America at the end of August, according to ABC News affiliate KGTV. The station reported that Filner was originally scheduled to receive the organization's lifetime achievement award (he won't now), and that the topic of his talk is being amended.

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"We do not tolerate sexual discrimination at any level within our society," the group said in a statement to KGTV, and said Filner will address the scandal in a speech. "He is now the keynote speaker on these injustices."

Filner is fending off demands for his resignation in light of numerous claims by female staffers of unwanted sexual advances. Earlier this week, three former supporters released details of his alleged crimes, which included forcible kissing of one staff member and grabbing the buttocks and breast of another, the Los Angeles Times reported.

At a Monday news conference, lawyer Marco Gonzalez said Filner once told a woman staff member in a City Hall elevator that female employees would fare better "if they worked without their panties on." His lewd behavior has earned him the name "dirty old man" and prompted phrases such as "the Filner headlock" and "the Filner dance" to show how he makes unwanted advances, Gonzalez said.

Filner, who was elected in November after 10 terms in Congress, apologized for his behavior, stating via videotape that he had "failed to fully respect" women he works with and "at times I have intimidated them," KPBS reported.

Filner said in a statement last week that he and his staff would take the sexual harassment training offered by the city, the LA Times reported.

But the mayor has refused to step down. Filner said he is entitled to due process, further explaining that he's "very demonstrative person" who may not have known that his actions were inappropriate, The New York Times reports.

"I'm a hugger of both men and women," Filner told KUSI-TV in San Diego. "As it turns out that those are taken in an offensive manner, I need to have a greater self-awareness about what I am doing, and we will correct that. And I am taking those steps."

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Related stories:

San Diego Mayor Apologizes for Mistreating Women: 'I Need Help'

San Diego Mayor Refuses to Step Down Amid Harassment Charges

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