Women's military veterans group drops Mayor Bob Filner as keynote speaker

Filner was scheduled for August event

SAN DIEGO - A group of women military veterans announced Wednesday that it has rescinded an invitation to Mayor Bob Filner to speak at its conference in San Diego next month in light of the sexual harassment allegations against the former congressman.

Filner, the leading Democrat on the House Veterans Committee when he was in Congress, was originally slated to be the keynote speaker at the National Womens Veterans Association of America's San Diego Mayors Benefit Gala on Aug. 30 at the U.S. Grant hotel. He was also set to receive a lifetime achievement award from the organization.

NWVAA President Tara Jones said Filner is still invited to attend, but will no longer be allowed to speak.

"After much careful thought and consideration, my board and I have determined and decided that Mayor Bob Filner will be removed as guest speaker on the topic of military sexual assault, sexual harassment and violence against women and children," Jones told reporters.

The award has also been withdrawn, she said.

Jones added, "It has hurt our organization tremendously as what our overall cause is. That's why we encourage San Diego to stand before the entire nation and send a message of who they are, that whatever is going on does not define our city."

Jones called San Diego "mini-Washington" as she described the political turmoil surrounding the mayor.

The decision was announced two days after Filner's former communications director became the first woman to publicly describe Filner's alleged actions toward her.

Irene McCormack Jackson, 57, said that during her around six months employment in the mayor's office, 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.

On Tuesday, a former campaign staffer told KPBS that Filner patted her bottom at a 2005 fundraising event, when he was a congressman. Laura Fink said she demanded an apology from Filner in an email, and received a mumbled "I'm sorry" a couple of days later.

McCormack Jackson's lawyer, Gloria Allred, said a complaint was filed with the department on her client's behalf and they were given the go-ahead to file a lawsuit against Filner.



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