A third lawsuit has been filed against ousted former mayor Bob Filner over charges of sexual harassment made while he was in office.
This time the plaintiffs are Marine veteran Katherine Ragazzino and her nurse, Michelle Tyler. The pair approached Filner attempting to get help in dealing with the Department of Veterans Affairs for Ragazzino, who was suffering from a brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and spinal cord and nerve damage. She was living in her car at the time.
Filner allegedly asked Ragazzino to leave the meeting regarding her own case and proceeded to come on to Tyler, pressing her for a date, seemingly in exchange for his help (while in Congress, Filner spent years on the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs). After repeated failed attempts to redirect focus on Ragazzino's issue, Tyler left the meeting "shaking, crying, and afraid," according to the suit.
"Ms. Tyler told Ms. Ragazzino what had happened. Ms. Ragazzino became very distraught, came apart and has suffered serious emotional distress as a result of learning that her nurse would have to give sexual favors to the mayor in exchange for assistance that she greatly needed for her disabled condition," continues the complaint.
When Tyler came forward with her allegations in August of last year, she was the 11th accuser. Eventually, 18 women claimed Filner made inappropriate advances, at least 8 of them during his brief tenure as mayor. Two others, former communications director Irene McCormack Jackson and Parks & Recreation Department manager Stacey McKenzie, already have lawsuits pending against the city.
Prior to the latest suit, the city faced claims totaling nearly $4 million from nine parties, including Ragazzino and Tyler, who had asked for $10,000 or more each.
Aside from affected individuals, the National Women Veterans Association of America seeks $100,452 as a result of losses from kicking Filner off the bill of a July charity party dubbed the “San Diego Mayor's Benefit Gala,” where he was to receive a "Lifetime Achievement Recognition Award."