Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner pleaded guilty Tuesday to criminal charges after a tumultous few months in which a series of women lined up to accuse him of sexual harrassment. He will serve three years of probabtion and is barred from running for public office again under the plea deal.
Filner was charged with one felony count for false imprisonment, and two counts of misdemeanor battery. "This conduct was not only criminal, it was also an extreme abuse of power," Attorney General Kamala D. Harris said Tuesday. "This prosecution is about consequence and accountability. No one is above the law."
The ex-Democratic mayor was accused by at least 18 women of sexual harrassment, including by a great-grandmother, his former communications director, a university dean, and a nurse. When allegations of sexual misconduct surfaced in July, Filner took a leave of absence and sought "intensive therapy." He resigned at the end of August after criticism from national Democratic leaders and recall efforts by several independent groups.
The victims identified in the California case were listed only as Jane Doe 1, 2 and 3.
Filner must surrender his pension between the dates of his committed felony (March 6, 2013) and his resignation (August 23, 2013), according to the state's Department of Justice. He will not serve jail time but the agreement mandates three years of probation, where he will be unable to vote, serve on a jury, or own a firearm, along with three months of home confinement. If he violates the terms, six months of jail time could follow. Filner must also undergo mental health treatment while on probation.
"His conduct as the mayor of San Diego was reprehensible and justice demands that he be punished for the harm he has caused to countless women who trusted and believed in him," attorney Gloria Allred said in a statement Tuesday. Allred is representing several of the women who came forward with sexual harrassment allegations earlier this year in a civil case.
San Diego City Council president Todd Gloria has served as interim mayor since Filner's resignation. A special election will be held next month to elect a new mayor.