Worker: San Diego mayor made suggestive comments

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A volunteer city worker who assists senior citizens said Thursday that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner repeatedly asked her to rub his hands, requested dates and made sexually suggestive comments.

Peggy Shannon, 67, said she cried after Filner forcibly kissed her on the lips in January. She said she was offended by his constant requests for dates because she knew he was engaged to another woman at the time.

The 70-year-old mayor once took her hands and told her could last eight hours at night, according to Shannon and her high-profile attorney, Gloria Allred.

“I was shocked that he would say that to me,” Shannon said at a news conference. “I was working and had to get myself together to continue my job at the senior citizens service desk. I was very bothered by this statement and went home and cried again.”

Since mid-July, more than a dozen women have publicly identified themselves as targets of Filner’s advances, including kisses, touching and lewd comments. Shannon is the second city employee to speak up, after Filner’s former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, said in a lawsuit that the mayor asked her to work without underwear, told her he wanted to see her naked and dragged her in a headlock while whispering in her ear.

Filner, a former 10-term congressman and San Diego’s first Democratic leader in 20 years, has resisted widespread calls to resign, insisting that he can be an effective mayor after two weeks of intensive therapy. He is scheduled to return to work next week after a three-week absence.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi sharpened her criticism of Filner on Thursday, saying on Twitter, “Mayor Filner is out of rehab, he should be out of the Mayor’s Office — should not subject San Diegans to the pain & expense of a recall.”

Shannon, who lives on Social Security, said she was initially flattered when the mayor lavished attention on her but soon became fearful whenever he approached her desk, which happened several times a day.

When allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced last month, Filner allegedly walked past her and pressed a finger to his lips, which Shannon interpreted as a message to remain silent. Less than a week later, she filed a complaint with the city’s Equal Employment Investigations Office.

A spokeswoman for the mayor, Lena Lewis, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on Shannon’s remarks. Filner has avoided addressing specific allegations and has insisted he is innocent of sexual harassment.

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