A nurse and a brain-injured Iraq War vet meet with mayor in his office in June
Mayor Bob Filner allegedly asks everyone to leave his office, except the nurse
Mayor asks for dates from nurse Michelle Tyler in exchange for his help, she says
Nurse is 11th woman to allege sexual harassment against mayor, who's now in therapy
A nurse Tuesday accused San Diego Bob Filner of rubbing her arm in his office and asking for dinner dates in June in exchange for his helping a brain-injured Iraq War veteran.
The allegations make her the 11th woman this summer to accuse Filner of sexual harassment while he was mayor or a congressman. Filner, who this week began intensive counseling for his behavior with women, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.
“I felt that his rubbing my arm and telling me to relax and making me feel that help for Katherine was contingent on my going out with him was extremely inappropriate and unacceptable,” Michelle Tyler, a licensed vocational nurse, told reporters at a San Diego press conference where she was accompanied by her attorney, Gloria Allred.
Tyler was the caregiver to Katherine Ragazzino, a Marine injured in Iraq, who was seeking Filner’s assistance in negotiating problems with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for her traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Ragazzino was homeless during her post-war ordeal and now resides with Tyler, Allred said.
The alleged incident occurred June 11 when Tyler, Ragazzino and a veteran’s representative were in Filner’s office, and then Filner asked to meet alone with Tyler, telling Ragazzino and the veteran’s representative: “Please step out, you don’t need to hear this,” Allred said.
Then Tyler was alone with the mayor in his office.
“The mayor sat back in his chair and said, ‘Wow, you are really magnificent.’ The mayor started rubbing Ms. Tyler’s arm and stated ‘Relax, you are incredible. I will help your veteran. I want you to go out to dinner with me and spend time with me,’” Allred said.
Filner allegedly asked Tyler if she was married, and she replied she was in the middle of a divorce. The mayor allegedly replied, “Good,” according to Allred.
Filner then allegedly referred to Tyler’s paperwork requesting the meeting and asked, “Is that your phone number that I can call you at?” Allred said.
Stunned, Tyler responded, “I am here to focus on Katherine,” according to Allred.
Filner allegedly persisted and said, “I am going to help her but I would really like to be seen in public with you, you are really something,” Allred said.
Filner allegedly asked Tyler, “Will you go to dinner with me if I help your Marine? Can I call you?” according to Allred.
Tyler said she needed to leave his office, but the mayor allegedly told her, “If we were not here in my office, I would like to kiss you,” Allred said.
After telling the mayor he should focus on Ragazzino’s issues, Tyler stood up and left his office, and the mayor allegedly said on her way out, “I am going to call you,” Allred said.
Tyler and Ragazzino, who have known each other since 2004, first met with Filner when he was a congressman in 2011, and “he encouraged us to seek him out again if appropriate corrective measures were not taken by the VA,” Ragazzino said.
Ragazzino was injured in Iraq and spent 18 months in a hospital as a result of her traumatic brain injury. She and Allred declined t