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Harassment suit filed against ex-San Diego mayor

The city of San Diego is facing a new lawsuit over the former mayor whose term was cut short by sexual harassment allegations.

Bob Filner's executive assistant reportedly accuses him of lewd comments, gropes and sexual propositions when she worked for him from January to August 2013.

Benelia Santos-Hunter filed her lawsuit last week against the city.

Filner left office in August 2013 after about 20 women made similar allegations. He could not be reached for comment Friday about the latest lawsuit.

The city attorney's office said it was aware of the allegations for some time but declined to comment further. Santos-Hunter previously sought $1.5 million in a claim the city rejected.

The city settled one lawsuit from former communications Director Irene McCormack Jackson for $250,000. Three other lawsuits filed by other women alleging sexual harassment against Filner are pending.

As part of the deal in which Filner agreed to resign after serving only nine months in office, the city must defend him against legal actions stemming from his term. It can seek reimbursement for monetary damages.

Santos-Hunter's suit describes more than two dozen incidents starting within weeks after she joined the mayor's staff. In one incident on March 4, 2013, she said Filner tried to put her hand on his genitals. About three weeks later, he tried to lock her in his office kitchen and asked her to have sex, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit also accuses the former Democratic federal congressman of grabbing her buttocks, kissing her and asking to see her breasts.

Santos-Hunter reported the incidents to a city official at the time, according to the lawsuit.

After leaving office last year, San Diego's first Democratic leader in 20 years served a three-month house arrest sentence for manhandling a woman at a fundraising event on March 6, 2013.

Filner also pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor battery charges, one in April when he kissed a woman without her consent at a “Meet the Mayor” event at City Hall, and the second in May when he grabbed a woman's buttocks at a cleanup event.

Filner also was ordered to serve three years of probation.

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