NEW: Official: Filner has been served a subpoena for a deposition August 9
San Diego mayor to start "intensive" behavior counseling next month
Seven women have said they were targets of the mayor's advances
They include four who came forward Thursday, KPBS-TV reports
A day after fellow Democrats called for his resignation, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announced Friday that he will take a two-week hiatus for “intensive counseling” in response to a tide of sexual harassment allegations.
“Beginning on August 5, I will be entering a behavior counseling clinic for two weeks of intensive therapy to begin the process of addressing my behavior,” Filner told reporters, reading a prepared statement.
Saying he had apologized to his staff, the citizens, and the “women I have offended,” the mayor said, “It is simply not acceptable to explain away my conduct as the product of the standards of a different generation.”
Filner said during his two-week “full-time” stay at the clinic, he will be briefed on city matters. San Diego’s city charter does not require him to appoint an interim mayor for a temporary absence.
Filner said he would return to office on August 19 and “my focus will be on making sure I am doing right by this city by being the best mayor I can be and being the best person I must be.”
He said he will take part in regular counseling after his clinic stay.
It’s unlikely that his decision will quell the mounting calls for his resignation.
One of his accusers, Morgan Rose, told CNN’s Poppy Harlow that his announcement shows that “he’s addicted to power and control.”
“I think this is a man who demonstrates an extreme narcissistic profile,” Rose said after Filner’s announcement. “He is doing this because he can keep the control and power. He is not giving that up for us. If he truly was repentant he would. He would realize how hurtful he was to us.”
Seven women – including Rose – have publicly accused Filner of unwanted groping, kissing or other inappropriate contact. Many of the accusations allegedly took place during his five terms in Congress, before he was elected mayor last year.
In the wake of the accusations, Filner’s chief of staff resigned, the Democratic Party of San Diego voted to call for his resignation – even his fiancee left his side.
Filner, 70, admitted to “inappropriate” behavior this month, saying he has “failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times I have intimidated them.”
Yet, he has repeatedly said he will not step down from an office he was elected to barely eight months ago.
“It’s very important that I think we continue with my priorities, that’s what I was elected to do,” Filner said last week. “That’s why I’m not resigning.”
That was before he faced a lawsuit from his former spokeswoman, filed Monday. And it was also before his own Democratic Party in San Diego overwhelmingly voted Thursday in favor of him vacating his office.
Here’s a breakdown of who’s accused the mayor of what, and the impact of those allegations:
• Irene McCormack Jackson
Jackson filed a lawsuit against Filner on Monday, saying she and other women were subjected to his “crude and disgusting” comments and inappropriate touching. She said she resigned as Filner’s communications director in June after deciding that the mayor would not change his behavior.
“I had to work and do my job in an atmosphere where women were viewed by Mayor Filner as sexual objects or stupid idiots,” Jackson said. She said he asked her to work without underwear and made repeated sexual advances toward her.
“He is not fit to be mayor of our great city. He is not fit to hold any public office. A man who lacks character makes a mockery of his ideas,” she said.
Jackson said Filner “refused to listen to someone he had known for 35 years, and who told him explicitly, during a senior staff meeting, that his behavior with women was terrible and possibly illegal.”
Filner “laughed it off,” she said. She said Filner challenged her to provide one example of improper behavior; when she brought up his comments about wearing underwear, “he had no comeback,” she said.
• Laura Fink
After hearing of Jackson’s lawsuit, political consultant Laura Fink came forward with her accusations against Filner on Tuesday, saying the then-congressman patted her “posterior” at a fundraising dinner in 2005 when she working as the deputy manager of Filner’s congressional campaign.
Fink said she didn’t go public with the incident at the time because she was trying to build her political career.