The Washington Post

Bob Filner will enter ‘behavior counseling clinic,’ will not resign

Apologizing for "intimidating conduct," embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D) on Friday said he plans to enter a "behavior counseling clinic" for two weeks of therapy beginning Aug. 5. But he vowed to remain in office, even as he faced a flurry of calls to step aside from top Democrats, amid allegations he sexually harassed multiple women.

Filner said he plans to "undergo two weeks of intensive therapy to begin the process of addressing my behavior." He said the treatment will be "the first step" in a longer process "that will involve ongoing regular counseling."

"I must become a better person," Filner said.

Filner apologized in general terms for inappropriate conduct toward women without acknowledging any specific behavior. "I apologize to the women I have offended," he said.

He said the "behavior I have engaged in over many years is wrong. My failure to respect women and the intimidating conduct I engaged in at times is inexcusable."

The brief press conference was quickly halted temporarily by what appeared to be audio troubles. Filner restarted his remarks minutes later, but fielded no questions.

The mayor made clear he intends to return to office on Aug. 19. He said that while he will be at the clinic full time, he will receive briefings twice daily on "city activities."

"So when I return on Aug. 19, my focus will be on making sure that I am doing right by the city, in terms of being the best mayor I can be, and the best person I must be."

Seven women have accused Filner of sexual misconduct, one of whom has filed a lawsuit. The mayor faces mounting calls to resign from within his own party.  Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz earlier Friday called for Filner to step aside. The San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee has also asked for Filner to leave office.

Since the allegations first surfaced publicly earlier this month, Filner has appeared consistently resolute in his desire to stay in office, even as he has been abandoned by the bulk of his party.

San Diego County Democratic Party Chair Francine Busby said Filner's decision to undergo therapy is not enough, but agreed that he needs the help.

"It doesn't erase what he's done. It doesn't erase the charges against him or the legal liability, but the ball's in his court, and he definitely needs to get this help," Busby told CNN, just after Filner delivered his remarks.

Elected mayor in 2012, Filner served in the U.S. House for nearly two decades before that.

Updated at 3:42 p.m.

Sean Sullivan has covered national politics for The Washington Post since 2012.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
The Democrats debate Thursday. Get caught up on the race.
What to expect at tonight's debate
Tonight's debate is likely to focus on the concerns of African American and Latino voters. Clinton has focused in recent days on issues like gun control, criminal-sentencing reform, and the issues with drinking water in Flint, Mich. But Sanders has been aggressively moving to appeal to the same voters, combining his core message about economic unfairness with his own calls to reform the criminal-justice system.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the polls as he faces rivals Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz as he heads into the S.C. GOP primary on Feb. 20.
Clinton in New Hampshire: 2008 vs. 2015
Hillary Clinton did about as well in N.H. this year as she did in 2008, percentage-wise. In the state's main counties, Clinton performed on average only about two percentage points worse than she did eight years ago (according to vote totals as of Wednesday morning) -- and in five of the 10 counties, she did as well or better.
Upcoming debates
Feb. 11: Democratic debate

on PBS, in Wisconsin

Feb 13: GOP debate

on CBS News, in South Carolina

Feb. 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.