San Diego, CA– In a Tuesday court appearance, former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner pleaded guilty charges of false imprisonment and battery of three women in connection to the sexual harassment scandal that forced him to resign.
Filner, who was accused of sexually harassing at least 17 women, was much more humble in his court appearance than in his resignations speech. As the judge explained the serious of the charges, Filner responded with a series of polite “yes sirs.”
Filner and his attorney Jerry Coughlan negotiated a plea deal with Attorney General Kamala Harris. Under the terms of the deal, Filner will be on probation for three years and participate in mental health treatment as recommended by a professional, the New York Times reported.
Filner will lose 6 months of his pension and will face three months of house arrest. If he violates the terms of his probation, he could be sent to prison for three years for the felony count and one year each for the misdemeanor count.
Filner who served in Congress for 20 years will never be able to hold elected office again.
This conduct was not only criminal, it was also an extreme abuse of power,” Harris said. “This prosecution is about consequence and accountability. No one is above the law.”
The Attorney General’s Office charged Filner with one count of felony false imprisonment by violence, menace and deceit and two counts of battery.
The felony charge arose out of a charity event in March at which Filner is accused of putting a woman in his infamous “Filner headlock.”
For the first battery charge, Filner admitted in court to kissing a woman on the lips against her will at a “Meet the Mayor” event in April. The second battery charge stemmed from an incident in which Filner was approached by a woman requesting a photograph and while granting her wish he grabbed her buttocks.
Filner admitted in court that he did the things the women are accusing him off and made a departure from his defiant tone which he took throughout the scandal. On a couple of occasions, Filner vehemently denied allegations from the 17 women and once said he was being subjected to a “lynch mob.”
His attorney explained why Filner was less defiant, stating he “learned to get beyond denial” while in treatment for sexual disorders in September.
The scandal involving Filner should serve as a cautionary tale for other people think their position of power makes gives them the right to subject people to inappropriate sexual harassment. While you may get away for it a while, eventually your actions catch up with you.
Not all sexual harassment cases end with criminal charges, but it does happen. Victims of sexual harassment should speak up before the harassment gets out of control and culminates in a physical assault. If you’ve complained to a supervisor and nothing is being done consider retaining a sexual harassment attorney to help you end the harassment before it goes too far.