Woman suing ex-San Diego mayor for sexual harassment didn't appear traumatized, psychiatrist testifies

A psychiatrist testified Tuesday that a city employee who is suing former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner for sexual harassment did not show any signs of trauma or post-traumatic stress disorder after her interaction with the politician.

Dr. Dominick Addario said he reviewed more than a decade's worth of medical records related to the plaintiff, Stacy McKenzie, and met with her in October 2015, more than two years after the alleged incident with Filner at a city park.

Addario, who was hired as an expert witness by the defense, said McKenzie had a preexisting diagnosis of anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder for which she had been receiving treatment.

"I didn't see any change in her mental state, from the records," the doctor testified in San Diego County Superior Court during the second week of Filner's trial.

Addario said he also administered tests intended to assess whether she suffered from PTSD, depression and other mental-health conditions. He said McKenzie showed signs of ongoing anxiety, but that had been present in her records 10 years earlier.

McKenzie, a district manager in the city's Park and Recreation Department, filed her lawsuit against Filner and the city in December 2013, nearly eight months after the incident at a Mission Bay park during which, she says, Filner behaved inappropriately.

She testified that after she introduced herself to the mayor at the event, he grabbed her by her wrists and asked her on a date. Moments later, he approached her from behind as she spoke with two park rangers, pressed his body against hers and wrapped his right arm around her neck.

During that latter move, she said, he let his arm drop and brush against her breast.

Filner testified last week that he does not remember meeting McKenzie nor does he recall the incident she described. He denied the allegations of sexual harassment, saying, "There are some things I would never do."

Filner resigned from the mayor's office in August 2013 after more than a dozen women came forward, saying they were harassed. In October of that year, he pleaded guilty to felony false imprisonment and two counts of misdemeanor battery, charges stemming from incidents with three other women at public events.

McKenzie was not one of the women identified as victims in those charges.

Addario, the psychiatrist, said Tuesday that he believed McKenzie was "shocked" by the April 21, 2013, incident with Filner, and that it — among other things, including the lawsuit — caused stress in her life.

"She felt he was odd," the doctor testified, recalling his conversation with the plaintiff. "Not only that this was peculiar behavior, but that there was something wrong with him."

But the doctor said the incident McKenzie described, as well as reactions from her co-workers, did not fit the typical profile of sexual harassment in the workplace. He noted, for example, that many fellow city workers, including Kathryn Ruiz, a parks and recreation human resources representative, were "supportive and kindly" toward her.

He said there was no evidence that any co-workers who supported her were punished for it in any way.

"That's not typical of what you see in sexual harassment cases," the doctor said.

Addario also said that McKenzie did not seek treatment after the incident with Filner. According to the testimony, she didn't complain about it to her primary care physician until sometime in 2014.

After presenting testimony from other witnesses, including the city's human resources director, equal employment opportunity manager and chief operating officer, attorneys for Filner and the city rested their case.

Lawyers on both sides of the case are expected to give their closing arguments Wednesday.


Twitter: @danalittlefield

Littlefield writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

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A version of this article appeared in print on March 30, 2016, in the News section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "Witness: Filner accuser didn't seem fazed" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe