New Claim Details Mayor Filner's Relentless Pursuit

Rene Esteill-Sombright said she is not joining the other woman in saying she was harassed by the mayor but rather has come forward to tell her story of behavior she says was inappropriate

By Lea Sutton and R. Stickney
|  Sunday, Aug 4, 2013  |  Updated 2:27 PM CDT
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A new woman has come forward claiming the mayor would not leave her alone at a charity event in June. According to Rene Esteill-Sombright, Filner spoke in a low voice, like a whisper, and asked for a private meeting. NBC 7's Lea Sutton reports.

A new woman has come forward claiming the mayor would not leave her alone at a charity event in June. According to Rene Esteill-Sombright, Filner spoke in a low voice, like a whisper, and asked for a private meeting. NBC 7's Lea Sutton reports.

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A San Diego woman claims embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner wouldn’t leave her alone at a charity function in La Jolla two months ago.

Special Section: Mayor Under Fire

Rene Esteill-Sombright said she is not joining the other women in saying she was harassed by the mayor but rather has come forward to tell her story of behavior she says was inappropriate.

Esteill-Sombright met the mayor June 20 at La Jolla Presbyterian Church for a charity that benefitted one of her clients

"He grabbed both of my hands and he just looked at me and he said 'Oh you are just so beautiful. I cannot take my eyes off you,'” said Esteill-Sombright.

She said it happened so fast she was stunned.

“You're like 'Is this really happening?',” she explaind.

Esteill-Sombright had met Filner once before at her own church, and approached him to say hello but she says that led to a relentless pursuit.

According to Esteill-Sombright, Filner spoke in a low voice, like a whisper, and asked for a private meeting.

"He sat down right next to me and he was just like 'Mmm'. He just wouldn't let up with all the compliments, and 'I'm going to call you,'” she said.

Esteill-Sombright was wearing her wedding ring and even told the mayor she was married but according to her that didn’t stop his advances.

Because of the number of people around them including her boss and her clients, Esteill-Sombright said she didn’t tell the mayor to stop.

While it was very uncomfortable, she says she tried to just brush him off rather than make a scene.
Was it harassment? No she said.

“He did not touch me other than hold my hands, and asking me if I was married, and this is a private invite," Esteill-Sombright said.

She said it sounded similar to the pattern of behavior alleged by nine other women including, among others, a retired Navy admiral, a school psychologist and the mayor’s own former communications director.

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She felt it was inappropriate enough that people should know about it.

"I'm married, you're engaged that should have been the end of it - that should have been the end of it," Esteill-Sombright said.

Mayor Filner has not addressed this specific allegation but has apologized for disrespecting and even intimidating women in the past.

On July 26, he announced he would enter a two-week clinic in order to work on the inappropriate behavior.

He's expected to enter into treatment Monday.

Numerous public officials - including city councilmembers, Democratic Party leaders, state legislators and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer - have called on Filner to resign.
 

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