Former San Diego Mayor Pleads Guilty to False Imprisonment and Battery


The former mayor of San Diego pleaded guilty Tuesday to false imprisonment and battery charges, stemming from allegations of sexual harassment. At least 18 women say that Bob Filner, who served for 20 years in the U.S. House of Representatives before becoming mayor, sexually harassed them. The charges involve three unnamed women.

RH Reality Check followed the story this summer as Filner was hit with an avalanche of sexual harassment allegations. It began when his former director of communications, Irene McCormack, filed a law suit against him alleging that he tried to kiss her, asked her to marry him, dragged her around the office in a headlock, and suggested that she remove her underpants and work without them. In the weeks that followed, numerous other women—including city employees, contractors, consultants, and donors—stepped forward to tell similar stories of Filner attempting to kiss them, touching their knees or buttocks, making inappropriate remarks, and dragging them around in a headlock.

At first, Filner refused to step down but apologized to the city, saying, “It’s a good thing that behavior that would have been tolerated in the past is being called out in this generation for what it is: inappropriate and wrong.”

As more allegations emerged, he said he would take a two-week leave of absence to get “intensive help.” The pressure for him to leave office, however, did not let up and toward the end of July, Filner announced his resignation and this time apologized to “all the women I offended.”

The politician’s troubles, however, did not end there. According to a court spokesperson, the state attorney general’s office charged Filner “with one felony count for false imprisonment by violence, fraud, menace and deceit (Penal Code Sections 236 and 237) and two misdemeanor counts of battery under Penal Code Sections 242 and 243.”

Under Filner’s plea deal, he will avoid jail time but will spend three months under house arrest and has promised never to run for elected office again.

A special election for San Diego mayor is scheduled for November 19.

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Follow Martha Kempner on twitter: @MarthaKempner