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San Diego mayor to seek therapy for ‘inexcusable’ behavior

Embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner (D) announced Friday that he
plans to take a leave of absence to seek therapy as he faces
increasing pressure to resign in the face of a string of sexual
harassment allegations. 

{mosads}Speaking at a press conference with reporters, Filner apologized for
the “inexcusable” behavior he said has taken place “over many years”
and said he plans to enter a “behavior counseling clinic” for two
intensive weeks of therapy.

“Let me be absolutely clear — the behavior I have engaged in over many
years is wrong,” Filner said. “My failure to respect women and the
intimidating conduct I engage in at times is inexcusable. It has
undermined what I have spent my whole life working for.”

Filner said he will be at the clinic full time beginning Aug. 5 but
will receive morning and evening briefings on the state of the city.
He plans to return to work on Aug. 19.

Filner said the therapy was only the “first step” in addressing his
problem, and that he “must become a better person” before putting
himself in a position to one day ask for forgiveness.

In the middle of his statement, the podium Filner stood at lost audio
capabilities, leading to an awkward few minutes of him standing in
front of reporters as technicians worked to fix the problem. Filner
exited the room and later returned to give the statement again.

Filner has been accused of sexual harassment by three women, and a
court has ordered that Filner not be alone with a woman while on
public grounds. He has apologized, saying he didn’t “fully respect the
women who work for me and with me” but denies that he’s guilty of
sexual harassment and says he won’t resign.

Filner’s announcement came shortly after Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz
(D-Fla.) issued a blistering statement calling for him to resign.

“The misconduct Mayor Bob Filner has been accused of is reprehensible
and indefensible,” Wasserman Schultz said. “I am personally offended
by his actions, and I firmly believe no employee should face a hostile
environment or harassment at their place of employment. There is no
place for this type of conduct in the workplace and certainly not in
our city halls and public offices.”

“For the good of the City of San Diego, I call on Mayor Filner to
resign,” she concluded.

The Democratic National Committee chairwoman is the latest high-level
Washington Democrat to weigh in on the Filner scandal. On Thursday,
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called Filner’s
behavior, and that of New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner
(D-N.Y.), “reprehensible.”

“It is so disrespectful of women, and what’s really stunning about it
is they don’t even realize. They don’t have a clue,” Pelosi said at a
press conference. “If they’re clueless, get a clue. If they need
therapy, do it in private.”

Both Weiner and Filner served in the House of Representatives with
Wasserman Schultz when Pelosi was Speaker.

—This report was originally published at 1:58 p.m. and last updated at 3:26 p.m.

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