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San Diego mayor faces sex harassment lawsuit, city faces uncertainty

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is being sued by his former communications director for sexual harassment. He has resisted calls to resign, saying he will defend himself 'vigorously.'

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Irene McCormack Jackson, the mayor's former director of communications and plaintiff in a sexual harassment lawsuit against San Diego and its mayor, Bob Filner, speaks during a press conference in San Diego Monday.

Sam Hodgson /Reuters

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San Diego Mayor Bob Filner's former communications director has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him, creating new problems for a city that has struggled with recent civic scandals.

Though Mayor Filner has acknowledged “personal frailties,” he says the claims are not valid and he intends to fight them in court.

Since President Clinton survived attempts to drive him from office, some politicians have increasingly sought to ride out sex-related scandals. But such scandals often only damage both the politicians embroiled in them and the constituencies they serve, experts say.

Political sex scandals: Who survived – and who didn't Political sex scandals: Who survived – and who didn't
 

“The longer the mayor hangs on, the political problem worsens for him and for the city long-term,” says David McCuan, a political scientist at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, Calif. “The longer he holds out, the harder it will be to rebuild faith in the most public of offices – that of mayor of a big city.”

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