SAN DIEGO (TIP): San Diego Mayor Bob Filner agreed on August 23 to resign on August 30, bowing to enormous pressure after lurid sexual harassment allegations brought by at least 17 women eroded his support after just nine months as leader of the US border city. Immediately after Filner told the City Council he would leave office next week, the California attorney general’s office opened a criminal investigation into the allegations. Filner, a Democrat who served 20 years in Congress before becoming mayor of the nation’s eighth-largest city, was both regretful and defiant during a City Council meeting as he explained the “the toughest decision of my life.” He apologized to his accusers but insisted he was innocent of sexual harassment and said he was the victim of a “lynch mob.”
The council voted 7-0 on a deal that ended a political stalemate after more than a dozen women publicly identified themselves as targets of unwanted advances, including touching, forcible kisses and lurid comments. “The city should not have to go through this, and my own personal failures were responsible and I apologize to the city,” Filner said after vote. The 70-year-old Filner previously insisted he still could be an effective mayor and underwent two weeks of behavioral therapy before returning to work this week. But his support diminished as more women, one of them a great-grandmother and another a retired Navy admiral, came forward and told stories of Filner touching, forcibly kissing, making lewd comments and even placing them in headlocks. Some of Filner’s closest political allies and all nine members of the council called on him to quit. On August 23 , just before the Council vote, the Democratic National Committee took the extraordinary step of passing a resolution demanding Filner leave.