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Ex-staffer of Mayor Filner meets with sheriff's investigators

August 05, 2013|By Tony Perry
  • Attorney Gloria Allred, left, with her client, Irene McCormack Jackson, former communications director for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, at a July 22 news conference announcing Jackson's sexual harassment lawsuit against Filner.
Attorney Gloria Allred, left, with her client, Irene McCormack Jackson,… (Lenny Ignelzi / Associated…)

SAN DIEGO - The former high-level staff member who is suing Mayor Bob Filner for sexual harassment met for two hours Monday with investigators at the San Diego County Sheriff's Department and representatives of the state attorney general.

Irene McCormack Jackson, accompanied by her Los Angeles attorney, Gloria Allred, met with the sheriff's investigators at their request, Allred told reporters who camped outside the attorney general's San Diego office.

The legal significance of the meeting was not immediately apparent.

A spokeswoman for the Sheriff's Department declined to say whether the meeting signaled that the department has opened a criminal investigation into allegations that Filner has sexually harassed women.

One possibility being discussed by those seeking Filner's ouster would be for the attorney general to use an arcane statute in state law to convene a grand jury and seek a civil complaint against Filner accusing him of egregious misconduct in office. If the grand jury lodges such a complaint, a trial would be held and the mayor, if found guilty, would be ousted.

The attorney general's office is acting as advisor to the Sheriff's Department in place of the district attorney's office because Dist. Atty. Bonnie Dumanis ran against Filner in last year's mayoral primary. Dumanis was defeated and later accused Filner of showing disrespect toward women.

Emerging from the meeting, Allred told reporters that she expects more women to make allegations against Filner. "I don't think the end is in sight," she said.

Jackson's lawsuit seeks unspecified damages from Filner and the city because of an alleged pattern by Filner of groping staff members and making sexually inappropriate comments.

Nine other women, in media interviews, have also accused Filner of making unwanted sexual advances.

Jackson was Filner's director of communications until she demanded a transfer to another job at City Hall.

Jackson, Allred and the nine other women have called for Filner to resign. So have seven of nine members of the City Council, several business leaders in San Diego, and a growing list of state and federal officeholders.

The 70-year-old Democrat has refused to resign and on Monday began a two-week program of intensive therapy at an undisclosed residential facility to learn to treat women with respect. He has promised to continue receiving therapy after he returns to work Aug. 19.

The Sheriff's Department has opened a hotline for women to report allegations of sexual misconduct by Filner.

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 tony.perry@latimes.com

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