By PAUL BACIGALUPO and DANIEL RAPAPORT
The mayor of San Diego released a public apology Thursday amid allegations that surfaced earlier this week, admitting that he sexually harassed women who worked in his office.
“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,” Bob Filner said in a video released to the media.
Filner is being accused of sexually assaulting more than one woman, but no charges have been filed. The allegations came about on Tuesday in a statement released by City Councilwoman Donna Frye.
“When I received credible first-hand evidence of more than one woman being sexually harassed, I could not not act,” Frye said in a news conference.
Frye, along with local lawyers Cory Briggs and Marco Gonzalez, wrote separate letters requesting Filner’s resignation. All letters were sent to Filner’s office on Tuesday.
“I cannot maintain my credibility in the community as an advocate for good government while pretending that your office has not been irreversibly compromised,” Briggs said in his letter to the Mayor acquired by KGTV San Diego.
In the video, Filner promised to change his behavior but stopped short of resigning from office despite mounting pressures from many. Despite the mayor’s admission of inappropriate behavior, Gonzalez maintains that an apology is not enough.
“Unfortunately, I and numerous of my colleagues have reached the point where we do not believe your behavior will change, and thus must request that you immediately relinquish your position as Mayor,” Gonzalez wrote in a letter to the mayor that was obtained by KGTV San Diego.
Gonzalez is the brother of Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who was head of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor when Filner ran for office just last year. In a recent tweet, Gonzalez said “as a woman involved in SD politics for a decade, I can personally attest to the fact that Filner is not alone w/inappropriate behavior to women.”
Filner took office last November on a campaign promise “to put San Diego back on the right track.” Seven months later, Filner finds himself amidst scandal and without the woman who stood beside him during the campaign.
Filner’s fiancée, Bronwyn Ingram, 48, called off their engagement on Monday.