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.