Two female military veterans -- and victims of military sexual assault -- have alleged that San Diego Mayor Bob Filner sexually harassed them.
Eldonna Fernandez told CNN that she met Filner at a National Women's Veterans Association of America "Healing and Hiring Fair." After the event, Filner left her a voice mail that, according to Fernandez, said, "Hi, it's your newly favorite congressman, Bob Filner. You know, the one who fell in love with you at your last speech ... I don't want to wait 'til you come back to have dinner with you."
At the same event, Army veteran Gerri Tindley says that Filner approached her after she gave a speech about her violent rape during her years of military service. "He got as close as he could to me. His jacket was touching my jacket," Tindley said. "I was bent down. He was bent down with me, rubbing like he cared, like he was consoling me."
They are also among at least eight female veterans and members of the National Women's Veterans Association of America (NWVAA) in San Diego who have made accusations against the mayor. Almost all of the women were victims of sexual assault while they were in the military.
The women, like Fernandez, say the former chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee used his significant power and credentials to access military sexual assault survivors, who they say are less likely to complain.
On Tuesday, another woman came forward with allegations against Filner: Michelle Tyler, a nurse, alleged that Filner "asked her to engage in a personal and sexual relationship in exchange for his help" with the case of U.S. Marine Katherine Ragazzino, who suffered a brain injury in Iraq and for whom Tyler is a caretaker. “He made it very clear that his expectation was that his help for Katherine depended on my willingness to go to dinner with him, spend personal time with him and be seen in public with him,” Tyler said at a press conference, Politico reports.