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San Diego Mayor Allegedly Assaulted Victims Of Military Sexual Assault

Fred Greaves / Reuters

Filner at a news conference in San Diego on July 26.

At least three more women reportedly came forward this week with allegations of sexual harassment from San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, including two military sexual assault survivors.

According to CNN, Eldonna Fernandez and Army veteran Gerri Tindley joined 11 other women in publicly accusing Filner of making unwanted advances. (These advances have reportedly ranged from inappropriate joking to touching.) Fernandez said she received a flirty voicemail from Filner after meeting him at a “Healing and Hiring Fair” sponsored by the National Women’s Veterans Association of America, an organization which many of Filner’s alleged targets belong to.

[Fernandez and Tindley] are also among at least eight female veterans and members of the National Women’s Veterans Association of America (NWVAA) in San Diego who have made accusations against the mayor. Almost all of the women say they were victims of sexual assault while they were in the military.

As a congressman, Filner served as the chairman of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs. He was supposed to receive a lifetime achievement award from NWVAA this month, as The New York Times points out.

“He’s done great work for veterans; that’s undisputed,” NWVAA president Tara Jones, told the Times. “But he’s going to lose that whole legacy because of what we are finding out now.

“He took advantage of this population of veterans who were trying to heal … He got access and people felt comfortable with him because of his position. And he betrayed their trust.”

Earlier this week, San Diego nurse Michelle Tyler said at a press conference that Filner once suggested that he would only help a wounded Marine that Tyler was treating if Tyler agreed to spend time with him.

“I don’t appreciate being used as a bargaining chip to be used to fulfill his sexual desires,” the Marine, Katherine Ragazzino, said. A statement released by Gloria Allred describes the June 11 moment when Tyler and Filner ended up alone in his office.

Filner entered a two-week intensive therapy program at a behavioral clinic on Monday.

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