Great-grandmother says Filner kissed her; accusers now number 16
SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A 67-year-old great-grandmother who works at a senior citizens service desk in the City Administration Building lobby alleged today that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner kissed her on the lips and repeatedly asked her for dates.
Peggy Shannon said Filner looked at her as he walked by — on the day after he issued a video apologizing for alleged sexual harassment of women — and held his finger to his lips.
Shannon, accompanied by lawyer Gloria Allred, was the third city of San Diego employee to come forward to say she was harassed by Filner, and the 16th woman overall. The mayor has apologized for his conduct, but denied it constitutes sexual harassment.
Shannon said the mayor stopped by three times a day to see her, and she and her co-workers laughed about it at first, but it wasn’t as funny when he kept showing up.
“He would take my hand, and talk about us getting together the next weekend,” Shannon said. “I knew that he was engaged and I felt very shocked and upset that he would think that I would go out with him.”
She said she got “butterflies” in her stomach when she went to work — three to four days a week for three or four hours — because she didn’t know what would happen “the next time the mayor came by my desk.”
Shannon said she loves her job, so kept going.
“On the day that Mayor Filner grabbed me and kissed me, I was so surprised I went home and cried — I just felt so sad,” Shannon said.
She said that on another day, he dropped by and asked her if she thought he could “go” eight hours in one night.
“I was shocked that he would say that to me,” Shannon said. “I was working and had to get myself together to continue my job… I was very bothered by this statement and went home and cried again.”
He walked by her on July 12 and held a finger to his lips, she said.
Allred said Shannon took the gesture as a warning and has been in fear for her job ever since.
The woman has filed a complaint with the city, and a decision on whether to file a lawsuit will be made when an investigation is complete, the lawyer said. She also said Shannon will speak to sheriff’s investigators who are looking into the sexual harassment complaints.
Shannon added her voice to the chorus asking for Filner to resign.
Earlier today, attorney Kathryn Vaughn told CBS8 she encountered Filner, then a congressman, at a public event about 10 years ago.
“He made an inappropriate movement on my body, yes,” Vaughn said when asked if she was groped. She said she “let it go, and moved on” instead of reporting the incident.
Vaughn said she will lead a rally and march demanding Filner’s resignation on Sunday at 2 p.m. The event coincides with the first day that organizers of a recall campaign can collect signature petitions.
One of the other city employees to step forward, ex-mayoral Communications Director Irene McCormack Jackson, previously hired Allred and has sued Filner and the city. Another said she filed two complaints.
Others who have come forward include a retired admiral, a dean at San Diego State University and two veterans at a meeting for women who had been raped during their military service.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department operates a hotline for women to report sexual harassment by Filner. The number is (619) 481-0220.