by Amita Sharma | KPBS
The ex-fiancee of beleaguered San Diego Mayor Bob Filner says she ended her relationship with him because he became increasingly abusive toward her and began sending sexually explicit text messages to other women in her presence.
In a statement Sunday, Bronwyn Ingram told KPBS and inewsource she believes recent serious controversies, including the onslaught of sexual harassment allegations, have paralyzed the mayor’s office and Filner should step down.
Ingram said she witnessed what she called a “severe deterioration in Bob’s ability to engage with anyone in a civil manner, myself included.” During a recent trip to Paris, she said, Filner screamed at her in public without provocation, among other “inappropriate and disrespectful acts.”
In the statement, Ingram went on to say that she made the “gut-wrenching decision” to break up with Filner after she said he recently started texting other women sexually explicit messages and set up dates in front of her.
She said, “given the circumstances, I obviously had no other choice.”
Filner’s office did not respond Sunday to a request for comment.
Filner , 70, introduced Ingram, 48, as the “first lady of San Diego” during his first news conference after his election as mayor last November. She made a name for herself by bringing together citizen volunteers called “Team First Lady” to address the needs of San Diego’s 10,000 homeless people.
In a letter to her friends that became public July 8, Ingram said she was dissolving the team “given the devolvement of our personal relationship.” In Sunday’s statement, Ingram said that without the mayor’s bully pulpit, “my ability to help (the homeless) has become extremely limited.”
Ingram reiterated that she has no direct knowledge of the sexual harassment accusations against Filner that became public last week when concerned Filner supporters urged him to resign.
As to their personal relationship, Ingram said, “While I had heard rumors that he was engaging in sexual relationships with other women, I was never able to determine their validity. My focus has been on the work I was engaged in with the homeless population rather than tracking the sources of gossip.”
Bronwyn said she believes Filner should resign from office.
“The mayor’s office is now paralyzed, engaging only in defensive posturing,” Ingram said. “The work of the people and for the people has ceased. I therefore urge Bob to put the best interest of the people of San Diego first and submit his resignation.”
Ingram broke off her four-year relationship with Filner just days before sexual harassment allegations against Filner became public.
Filner issued a taped statement Thursday, saying he was sorry for diminishing the office and was seeking help in dealing with his behavior.
“I am embarrassed to admit that I have failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times, I have intimidated them,” he said.
By late last week, the numbers of supporters urging Filner’s resignation were mounting and staff members were quitting. Late Friday, Filner’s office issued another statement, promising that any accusations of sexual harassment would be independently investigated and that he was confident he would be found innocent.
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