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San Diego Mayor Apologizes for Mistreating Women: 'I Need Help'

By Todd Beamon   |  

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner apologized on Thursday for his treatment of women and vowed to change his behavior after admitting “I need help.”

“I have reached into my heart and soul and realize I must and will change my behavior," Filner said, indicating that he would not step down amid calls for his resignation over sexual harassment claims.

Filner, 70, a Democrat who was elected in November after 10 terms in Congress, said that he and his staff would take the sexual harassment training offered by the city, the Los Angeles Times reports.

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"As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting for equality for all people, 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 in a DVD released to news organizations.



San Diego residents, he said, had “every right to be disappointed” in him, but that "you give me an opportunity to prove I am capable of change, so that the vision I have for our city's future can be realized."

Filner's admission came just hours after an emotional news conference in which three longtime friends and supporters called on him to resign for what one called "truly reprehensible" behavior toward women.

Although no details were given about the alleged harassment, former City Councilwoman Donna Frye and two lawyers — Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs — said they would help the women should they come forward and file lawsuits.

Frye said the women were too scared to speak.

"When you're ready to file lawsuits, I'll be standing in court," Briggs said, according to the Times.

"The mayor is in control of the script," Gonzalez said at the news conference. "The next chapter will largely be defined by his response."

They said the alleged victims did not want to be identified. Briggs asked reporters not to attempt to learn the women's identities or interview them, the Times reports.

Briggs, Gonzalez and Frye each sent letters to Filner on Wednesday, demanding that he resign, according to the Times.

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San Diego Mayor Bob Filner apologized on Thursday for his treatment of women and vowed to change his behavior after admitting "I need help." "I have reached into my heart and soul and realize I must and will change my behavior, Filner said, indicating that he would not...
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