SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The count of women who have publicly accused Bob Filner of sexual harassment stands at 11 after a nurse seeking help for an injured Marine ensnared in Veterans Administration red tape said the Filner sought a personal relationship with her.
During a news conference Tuesday, August 6, Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, said Filner made his advances on licensed vocational nurse Michelle Tyler in the mayor's office on June 11, about a month before he was first accused of sexual harassment by three of his formerly biggest political supporters.
Allred said Tyler had seen Filner when he was a congressman and leader of the House Veterans Affairs Committee because the Marine, Katherine Ragazzino, had not been able to resolve her problems with the VA, and he asked her to return if the issues persisted. Ragazzino said she suffered a traumatic brain injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during her service in Iraq.
Allred said that at the latest meeting, Filner seemed willing to help Tyler, "but at a price," notably a "personal and sexual relationship."
"In other words, Mayor Filner wanted Ms. Tyler to help him fulfill his sexual needs if she wanted his help for a deserving war veteran," Allred said.
"That is not only disgusting, but a complete abuse of power that should not be tolerated by the electorate."
Allred -- appearing with Tyler and Ragazzino before reporters in San Diego Tuesday, August 6 -- said the women do not plan to file a lawsuit, but they want
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to open an investigation of the mayor. Goldsmith has said his office is investigating the allegations against Filner, who started two weeks of behavioral therapy on Monday.
Tyler read a statement in which she insisted the mayor's advances were "absolutely unwanted."
She said at one point during the meeting, Filner asked Ragazzino to leave. The nurse said she thought the mayor wouldn't want her patient to hear a discussion about her injuries, but instead, the conversation turned personal.
"He made it very clear that his expectation was that his help for Katherine was contingent on my willingness to go to dinner with him, spend personal time with him, be seen in public with him," Tyler said.
Filner rubbed her arm and told her to relax, she said.
Ragazzino said she had been homeless because of her still-unresolved issues with the VA but is now living with Tyler, who she called a "guardian angel." She said she was "deeply disappointed and upset" about the mayor's misconduct with Tyler.
"I don't appreciate being used as a bargaining chip to fulfill his sexual desires," Ragazzino said. "Michelle found herself in a situation when all she was doing was trying to help me."
Allred said Tyler was to be questioned by the Sheriff's Department Tuesday afternoon. Former mayoral Communications Director Irene McCormack Jackson, Allred's other client in connection with the Filner scandal, was questioned by investigators for about two hours Monday.
Allred said other women had contacted her about Filner, but she doesn't know whether any will go public with their stories.
McCormack Jackson, 57, says Filner held her in a headlock while demanding kisses. She also alleged the mayor told her she should work without her panties on, that he wanted to see her naked, that he could not wait to consummate their relationship, and that he wanted to marry her.
Filner has apologized for what he called a failure to respect women and his "intimidating conduct" but insists that his actions do not constitute sexual harassment.
Many political, civic and business leaders have called for the mayor to resign, including seven of the nine members of the City Council, the San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee, former Mayor Jerry Sanders, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles.