Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, a Democrat, pleaded guilty to felony false imprisonment and two charges of misdemeanor battery, nearly two months after resigning amid numerous sexual harassment allegations.
Though he evaded prison time under the plea bargain, Filner, 71, will serve three years of probation and will undergo mental health treatment, reported The Los Angeles Times. He will spend three months of his probation under home confinement, give up a major portion of his pension and will be barred from running for public office in the future.
"This conduct was not only criminal, it was also an extreme abuse of power," California Attorney General Kamala Harris told the New York Times. "This prosecution is about consequence and accountability. No one is above the law."
Filner was initially resilient against public outcry for his resignation after at least 18 women alleged they had been groped, kissed, or inappropriately touched by the first Democratic mayor of San Diego in 20 years. Though he apologized for his conduct and entered a behavioral therapy program, he maintained his actions were merely harmless.
All nine city council members, along with numerous other public officials, called for an end to Filner's tenure as mayor. An effort to force a recall election based on his sexual harassment history and a misuse of public funds also surfaced amidst more allegations. He formally resigned on Aug. 30, just nine months into his term.
"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," civil rights attorney Gloria Allred said in a statement. Allred had filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in July on behalf of Filner's former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, the first of Filner's victims to go public.
City Council President Todd Gloria has served as interim mayor since Filner's resignation. A special election is expected to be held in November. He will be formally sentenced on Dec. 9.
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