SAN DIEGO (L.A. Times) — The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department says a telephone hotline has been established for anyone wishing to report sexual misconduct allegations against Mayor Bob Filner.
Filner, battling accusations of sexual harassment of staff members and constituents, said late Friday that he’s fine with the idea of a hotline because it might lead to an objective investigation rather than just “press conferences and innuendo.”
If an investigation is warranted, the Sheriff’s Department will be the lead agency, not the San Diego Police Department, which reports to the 70-year-old Democrat, officials said.
Under state law, victims of sexual abuse are provided anonymity and can be accompanied by a representative or advocate during interviews, sheriff’s officials said.
Sheriff Bill Gore said that “these are extremely sensitive matters and should there be an investigation, [the sheriff's] department as the lead agency, will not be providing any details as the investigation proceeds.”
Announcement of the hotline came as three-dozen people rallied outside City Hall to talk about their effort to recall Filner and to seek volunteers to gather the signatures necessary to put a recall on the ballot.
Ten days ago, three former supporters of the mayor held a news conference to accuse him of sexual harassment and demand his resignation. Filner responded by apologizing for crass behavior toward women and promising to change his behavior and apologize to any women that he has offended.
But he has refused to resign and given indications he plans to fight any attempt to oust him. He insists that his behavior, while deplorable, is not sexual harassment and that he is being denied due process by having anonymous allegations made against him.
The hoteline number is (619) 481-0220.