In a lawsuit filed this week, an ex-employee of former mayor Bob Filner claims she was kissed, touched, put in a headlock and asked multiple times to have sex on a conference room table while working in the mayor's office.
Benelia Santos-Hunter has filed claims with the city and the state as well as with the courts over the “pattern of severe and pervasive sexual harassment” she says she experienced while a city employee.
Filner resigned in August 2013 after multiple women accused him of unwelcome sexual advances and inappropriate behavior.
Four months later, Filner was sentenced to 90 days house arrest after entering a guilty plea to felony false imprisonment and two misdemeanor charges of battery involving victims of sexual harassment.
In February, former communications director Irene McCormick Jackson reached a $250,000 settlement with the City of San Diego.
Now, in a new lawsuit filed August 15, a second former employee claims she was asked for kisses and sex repeatedly by the former mayor over a span of four months.
While working for the former mayor, Santos-Hunter claims she was subjected to “inappropriate sexually based comments and advances, including physical touching, confinement, hostility, outrageous demands and threats, screaming” that resulted in hospitalization.
The city’s Director of Scheduling Barbara Hensen along with former spokesperson Lena Lewis, Lee Burdick and Vince Hall are listed as witnesses to the alleged behavior.
The hugs, kisses, unwelcome compliments and physical touching allegedly began a month after she joined the staff at the mayor’s scheduling staff. The first interaction was in February 2013 with a kiss on the forehead, according to court documents.
The lawsuit lists repeated advances and claims that in March 2013, Filner asked Santos-Hunter to “go in the back and make love right now.”
In April, Santos-Hunter claims Filner asked her to travel with him to Mexico, offering to share a hotel room with her.
Then, on May 6, Santos-Hunter claims the former mayor locked her in his office kitchen. She states that the following week he placed her in a headlock in the city’s conference room.
Seven months into her employment, the plaintiff claims Filner demanded she book a China trip for him. If not, she claims, he threatened to fire her.
Santos-Hunter said she informed the city’s Assistant Chief Operating Officer Scott Chadwick. In court documents, the woman claims Chadwick told her “’It’s not illegal to be an a--hole. Is there anything else?’ or words to that effect.”
Santos-Hunter filed a claim with the City of San Diego Claim on November 15 requesting $1.5 million in damages.
Through her attorneys she filed a complaint with California Department of Fair Employment and Housing on February 6.