San Diego Mayor Bob Filner said he’ll seek therapy amid allegations he sexually harassed women including a retired Navy rear admiral and a state university dean.
The 70-year-old Filner announced plans to enter behavioral counseling for two weeks beginning Aug. 5. A 10-term congressman, he took office in December as the first Democrat in 20 years to lead America’s eighth-largest city. He had been under fire since the accusations became public July 11.
“I apologize to the people of San Diego,” Filner said in a news briefing at city hall. “And most of all I apologize to the women I have offended.”
The San Diego scandal unfolded as another prominent Democrat, disgraced congressman Anthony Weiner, resisted calls to quit his campaign for mayor of New York after revelations he sent lewd messages to a woman over the Internet.
On July 11, three former Filner supporters including ex- Councilwoman Donna Frye, who worked for the mayor earlier this year, held a news briefing in which she called for his resignation, citing sexual harassment without giving details. Filner responded with a public apology.
“I am embarrassed to admit that I have failed to respect the women who work for me and with me,” he said.
On July 22, the mayor’s former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, 57, filed suit asserting that the divorced Filner had held her in a headlock and suggested that she not wear panties to work. Filner denied wrongdoing.
Yesterday, four more accusers came forward in a KPBS-TV interview, telling the San Diego station they had received unwanted sexual advances.
One of those women was Veronica Froman, a former admiral who served as the city’s chief operating officer under Filner’s predecessor, Mayor Jerry Sanders. Another was Joyce Gattas, the dean of the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts at San Diego State University.