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San Diego mayor accuser reveals identity

July 22, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A former communications director for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has become the first alleged victim to reveal her identity over allegations he sexually harassed women.

Irene McCormack said Filner had asked her to work without wearing panties, demanded kisses and dragged her around in a headlock while whispering sexual advances.

"Irene soon learned that what she was really getting into, when she accepted the position as communications director, was that in order to do her job was that she would have to endure the 'Filner headlock' while he made degrading and humiliating sexual comments to her," said her attorney, Gloria Allred.

McCormack said she resigned in June at a staff meeting after a deputy chief of staff complained to the mayor that his behavior toward women was wrong and possibly illegal. She is demanding Filner resign immediately.

"The past six months turned out to be the worst time of my entire working life," McCormack said. "I had to work and do my job in an atmosphere where women were viewed by Mayor Filner as sexual objects or stupid idiots. I saw him place his hands where they did not belong on numerous women."

The recent resignation of Deputy Chief of Staff Allen Jones was the turning point, McCormack said.

"I knew then that Mayor Filner would not change," McCormack said. "He refused to listen to someone who he had known for 35 years and who told him explicitly during a senior staff meeting that his behavior with women was terrible and possibly illegal. Mayor Filner laughed it off."

Former Councilwoman Donna Frye has also called on Filner to resign.

The mayor of the nation's eighth-largest city has apologized for disrespecting women, but stopped short of saying he sexually harassed women. In a statement released July 11, Filner said, "I have diminished the office to which you elected me ... As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting for equality for all people, I am embarrassed to admit that I have failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times I have intimidated them."

The Associated Press and City News Service contributed to this report.


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