A great-grandmother who worked in City Hall said San Diego Mayor Bob Filner made unwanted sexual advances and even asked if she thought he could “go eight hours.”
Lawyer Gloria Allred introduced Peggy Shannon as the latest accuser at a news conference Thursday afternoon. Shannon said she wanted an apology from Filner and for him to resign.
Shannon, 67, claims she was a “victim of continuous inappropriate sexual advances” from the mayor while she worked at the Senior Citizens Service Desk in the lobby of the City Administration Building.
Shannon accused Filner of kissing her on the lips and repeatedly asking for dates. She also said the mayor walked by her after the sexual harassment allegations became public and put a finger to his lips.
Shannon said the mayor stopped by three times a day to see her, and she and her co-workers laughed about it at first, but it wasn't as funny when he kept showing up.
“He would take my hand, and talk about us getting together the next weekend,” Shannon said. “I knew that he was engaged and I felt very shocked and upset that he would think that I would go out with him.”
She said she got “butterflies” in her stomach when she went to work—three to four days a week for three or four hours—because she didn’t know what would happen “the next time the mayor came by my desk.”
Shannon said she loves her job, so kept going.
“On the day that Mayor Filner grabbed me and kissed me, I was so surprised I went home and cried—I just felt so sad,” Shannon said.
She said that on another day, he dropped by and asked her if she thought he could “go eight hours straight” in one night.
“I was shocked that he would say that to me,” Shannon said. “I was working and had to get myself together to continue my job. ... I was very bothered by this statement and went home and cried again.”
He walked by her on July 12 and held a finger to his lips, she said.
Allred said Shannon took the gesture as a warning and has been in fear for her job ever since.
The woman has filed a complaint with the city, and a decision on whether to file a lawsuit will be made when an investigation is complete, the lawyer said.
She also said Shannon will speak to sheriff's investigators who are looking into the sexual harassment complaints.
Shannon became the third municipal employee to accuse Filner, 70, of harassment.
Attorney Allred, also representing first accuser Irene McCormack Jackson, said Filner approached Shannon and said, “Do you think I could go eight hours straight?”
Local media covered the news conference via a stream of tweets.
Allred said: “Women appear to be his sexual playthings. Is City Hall supposed to be a sexual playhouse? ... Peggy will be going back to work tomorrow.”
Earlier, attorney Kathryn Vaughn became the 15th alleged victim overall to step forward by telling CBS8 she encountered Filner, then a congressman, at a public event about 10 years ago.
“He made an inappropriate movement on my body,
yes,” Vaughn said when asked if she was
groped. She said she “let it go, and moved on” instead of
reporting the incident.
Vaughn said she will lead a rally and march
demanding Filner’s resignation as mayor at 2 p.m.
Sunday. The event coincides with the first day that organizers of a recall campaign can collect signature petitions.
One of the other city employees to step forward, ex-mayoral Communications Director Jackson, hired Allred and sued Filner and the city. Another said she filed two complaints.
Other victims include a retired admiral, a dean at San Diego State University and two veterans at a meeting of women who had been raped during their military service.
The San Diego Sheriff’s Department, which is conducting a criminal investigation, operates a hotline for women to report sexual harassment by Filner. The number is (619) 481-0220.
—City News Service contributed to this report.