Ex-San Diego mayor to be sentenced for harassment
Bob Filner has almost vanished from public view since a defiant resignation speech as San Diego mayor amid widespread allegations that he sexually harassed women. He returns to the spotlight at least once more.
The former 10-term congressman will be sentenced Monday for one felony and two misdemeanors for placing a woman in a headlock, kissing another woman and grabbing the buttocks of a third. He pleaded guilty in October in an agreement with prosecutors, who will recommend that he get three months of home confinement and three years of probation.
Filner, 71, has avoided even close supporters since leaving office Aug. 30, less than nine months into a four-year term. He said little when he resurfaced six weeks later to plead guilty in San Diego Superior Court, but his attorney told reporters then that the former mayor “profusely apologizes” for his behavior.
The attorney, Jerry Coughlan, said Filner was spending his days jogging, getting therapy and talking to friends. Television news crews hoping for a glimpse of the former mayor were disappointed when he showed up at jail a day earlier than expected to be booked.
Filner, who is divorced, was convicted of felony false imprisonment for restraining a woman against her will at a fund-raiser on March 6 and applying additional force when she resisted. His attorney said it was a headlock.
The battery counts are for kissing a woman on the lips without permission at a “Meet the Mayor” event on April 6 and grabbing another woman’s buttocks at a May 25 rally to clean up Fiesta Island in Mission Bay. None of the victims have been identified.
The charges do not involve Filner’s former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, who expedited the mayor’s downfall by becoming the first to go public with sexual harassment allegations in July. She has filed a lawsuit against Filner and the city, claiming her boss asked her to work without panties, demanded kisses, told her he wanted to see her naked and dragged her in a headlock while whispering in her ear.
Nearly 20 women have publicly identified themselves as targets of Filner’s unwanted advances, including kissing, groping and requests for dates. They include a retired Navy rear admiral, a San Diego State University dean and a great-grandmother who volunteers answering senior citizens’ questions at City Hall.
Filner was elected San Diego’s first Democratic mayor in 20 years, promising to put neglected neighborhoods ahead of entrenched downtown business interests. Two city councilmen seeking to replace him in a special election runoff — Republican Kevin Faulconer and Democrat David Alvarez — have embraced Filner’s neighborhoods-first mantra while scarcely mentioning the former mayor by name.