San Diego Mayor: I Never Got Sexual Harassment Training

Embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner has a unique defense to the sexual harassment charges that have been leveled against him:

(CNN) – A lawyer for San Diego Mayor Bob Filner criticized the city for not providing sexual harassment training to the mayor, saying its failure to do so violated the law.

In a letter to the city attorney, Harvey Berger wrote that Filner might never have been sued for sexual harassment had he been properly trained.

“If there is any liability at all, the city will almost certainly be liable for ‘failing to prevent harassment,’ ” Berger wrote in a letter dated Monday and obtained Wednesday by CNN from City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.

An intent of Berger’s letter was to urge the city to pay Filner’s legal fees associated with a sexual harassment filed against him by his former spokeswoman, Irene McCormack Jackson. The city is named as a co-defendant in that lawsuit.

(…)

Filner never received sexual harassment training while serving in Congress from 1993 to December 2012, Berger wrote. He was set to get such training — which is required within six months of one’s start date — after becoming mayor, but the trainer canceled the session and never rescheduled, according to the lawyer.

“There is very, very good reason for mandatory sexual harassment training,” Berger said. “If nothing else, it makes people think about the subject and how they interact with fellow employees.”

While the mayor has admitted unspecified inappropriate behavior in the past, he denies the allegations against him by Jackson.

“This is not a request for the city to agree to pay any verdict; it is simply a request for defense against unverified claims being brought against the mayor — claims which are denied,” Berger said.

Because, of course, without that training Filner never would’ve known that it was wrong to sexually harass women who work for him.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Tony W says:

    Harassment training after being elected mayor was going to help his victims from his old congressional days? That’s an interesting defense – call it “retroactive training”!

  2. bill says:

    it gets even funnier, what’s next “i never learned to read”? way to lower the bar there.

  3. Caj says:

    These type of politicians should be booted out of office! There are far too many on both sides who have lost grip on reality and think they can do as they like with no consequences. The work of the people seems to be the last thing on their minds. Having affairs, sexting, groping etc is getting out of hand. Get rid of all the jerks!

  4. C. Clavin says:

    You have to wonder what goes through the minds of scum like this…does he really think he can ride this out?
    On the other hand…Vitter has.
    So anything is possible.

  5. John Peabody says:

    Mayor Filner: Shut the f- up.

  6. Gromitt Gunn says:

    Ugh. This guy is such a tool.

  7. de stijl says:

    To claim that your physical sexual harassment of another person is the result of the lack of training means that you have no morals whatsoever.

    You groped someone against their will.

    You are a stain on humanity.

    If you need to be told not to sexually violate another person you deserve to be castrated.

    In a letter to the city attorney, Harvey Berger wrote that Filner might never have been sued for sexual harassment had he been properly trained.

    “If there is any liability at all, the city will almost certainly be liable for ‘failing to prevent harassment,’ ” Berger wrote in a letter dated Monday and obtained Wednesday by CNN from City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.

    I’m going to walk away now, because I might be physically ill otherwise. Piggy filthy scum.

  8. You know what? I think we’ve now found the appropriate punishment for him. Strap him a chair, hold his eyes open with a couple of specula, and subject him to a Ludovico-esque viewing of horribly acted sexual harassment video after horribly acted sexual harassment video. Then, not only will he be trained, he’ll become physically ill if he tries to harass any women afterward.

  9. anjin-san says:

    Time for him to leave office.

  10. Paul L. says:

    More Swiftboating of Bob Filner (D-CA), a Civil Rights activist and Freedom Rider with headline-grabbing Washington ‘gotcha’ games and cynical political point scoring. .

  11. ernieyeball says:

    …you deserve to be castrated.

    …not only will he be trained, he’ll become physically ill if he tries to harass any women afterward.

    We can only hope that these punishments might work. But don’t count on it.
    My ex wife did extensive research on the behavior of child molesters.
    Her findings confirmed that chemical and physical casteration was about useless for these truly sick and perverted creatures.
    Once neutered they will resort to using their fingers and toes on their innocent victims.

  12. al-Ameda says:

    Well, heck yeah. Come on, how could a person (an adult male) possibly know whether or not he was harassing a woman without sexual harassment training?

    You can not make anything up any more.

  13. Craig Davis says:

    I wonder if his mommy and daddy aren’t here to defend themselves? Did they fail to teach him basic respect for other human beings? Or did their teaching simply sail from one ear to the other without touching any grey matter or leaving any connected synapses for the topic? (Last week someone commented to me that my mother failed to teach me to check my shirt collar in a mirror before leaving home. I told them she taught me that, but I don’t do it and not to blame my mother – the teaching just didn’t “stick” with me).

  14. Lynn says:

    @Paul L.: “More Swiftboating of Bob Filner (D-CA), a Civil Rights activist and Freedom Rider with headline-grabbing Washington ‘gotcha’ games and cynical political point scoring. .”

    Any reason that someone can’t be both a civil rights advocate AND a harasser? Remember, “The only position for women in the movement is ‘prone’”?

  15. JKB says:

    Ah, Democrats. They are worthless without indoctrination and conditioning. Have no moral code or common decency.

    Remember the San Diego Democratic Party knew of his behavior. So did the local media. But neither exposed his behavior or sought to provide him with the much needed training.

  16. Eric Florack says:

    strikes me, Doug, that this is similar to “world of lawsuits” where, for example, there’s a sticker on every lawnmower in existence saying “do not place hands or feet under mower”….that sticker being the legal answer to the problem of the number of folks who apparently didn’t know there was a small issue with putting hands and feet under a lawnmower, and after their ordeal went to court saying they got hurt because nobody told them about the problem…. and worse, convinced a jury of their peers… IE… fellow morons…. that absent training, or at least a sticker, they would never have known about the danger of the act.

    I will assume, then the mayor is a lawyer, since there seems precedent for the idea.

    does also strike me, though, that a possible new career for the mayor might be the TSA…. whose job, after all is fondling strangers.!

  17. Eric Florack says:

    @Lynn: Indeed, not.
    In fact, they do tend to be just so.. one in the same.
    Consider Bill Clinton as an example.

  18. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    Ah, Democrats. They are worthless without indoctrination and conditioning. Have no moral code or common decency.

    Thank God for Republicans, with their moral code and decency.

    Newt. Vitter. Packwood. Foley. Craig. Sanford. Hopper. Sessions. Duvalle.

    A more complete list

  19. anjin-san says:

    @ Eric Florack

    It’s always kind of fun watching you grind your teeth when you think about Clinton being more or less irresistible to women.