Eight women from the National Women’s Veterans Association of America (NWVAA) have now stepped forward to allege that San Diego mayor Bob Filner has sexually harassed them, CNN reports.
The NWVAA was formed as a safe haven for military sexual-assault victims, and almost all of the women who have now stepped forward were victims of such behavior while in the military. They allege that Filner used his position as a chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee to gain access to victims of military sexual assault because they were less likely to complain.
Their encounters with Filner follow a familiar pattern: inquiries over marital status followed by invasion of personal space and invitations for dinner. Tara Jones, the president of the NWVAA, says that Filner “went to dinners, asked women out to dinners, grabbed breasts, buttocks. The full gamut.”
Jones had invited Filner to the NWVAA events because of his work on behalf of veterans. In his speeches for the group, he called for zero tolerance of sexual abuse in the military.
One accuser, Gerri Tindley, says Filner, who was running for mayor of San Diego at the time, met her at an NWVAA event and asked her about being raped while she was serving in the Army. He closed the distance between the two so that their jackets were touching; Tindley was bent over and Filner bent to match her, rubbing her. Tindley became so uncomfortable she nearly fell off a couch trying to get away from the then-congressman.
Filner’s chief of staff, Lee Burdick, dodged CNN’s questions, and Filner’s attorney, Harvey Berger, had no comment.
Via Ace of Spades.