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San Diego Mayor recall effort gains support

Posted By Kristen Butler, UPI.com   |   July 18, 2013 at 2:41 PM   |   Comments

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July 18 (UPI) -- San Diego Mayor Bob Filner says he won't resign, even as one of the women accusing him of sexual harassment takes "the next step" and files formal charges.

A number of friends and supporters came forward last week with allegations from female staff members that Filner's behavior has been "reprehensible," including groping, kissing and making lewd comments.

Filner, 70, issued a statement saying "I need help." He admitted treating women poorly and possibly intimidating them, but insisted that a "fair and independent investigation'' will clear him of forthcoming sexual harassment charges.

Filner's chief of staff, Vince Hall, resigned Friday, tweeting, "As a lifelong activist for women's rights and equality, I feel I must resign effective today."

Attorney Marco Gonzalez, a longtime Filner supporter who called for his resignation last week, says he will be representing one of the women.

Gonzalez says a formal complaint will be filed shortly. If Filner does not resign or get recalled, his defense could be taxpayer-funded.

In the days since the scandal broke, Filner has made a number of comments that seem to make his situation worse, including "I’m a hugger. Of both men and women."

The National Military Women Veterans Association of America has revoked a lifetime leadership award for his work on behalf of women veterans, including the issue of sexual assault in the military, though he will still keynote a victims' benefit to "address" the scandal.

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