San Diego Mayor Bob Filner on Thursday apologized in response to accusations of sexual harassment, saying, "I have reached into my heart and soul and realize I must and will change my behavior."
The videotaped apology was released shortly after three of Filner's former supporters held a press conference in which they called for him to quit over his "truly reprehensible" treatment of women. While they didn't give details about the alleged sexual harassment, they did say they were in contact with several unnamed women who — despite being afraid to speak out — could file lawsuits in the future.
"I am embarrassed to admit that I have failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times I have intimidated them," Filner admitted in the video. "It's a good thing that behavior that would have been tolerated in the past is being called out in this generation for what it is: Inappropriate and wrong."
Filner, San Diego's first Democratic mayor since 1992, did not indicate that he had any intention of resigning from office. Instead, he stressed that he would try to change his ways:
I am also humbled to admit that I need help. I have begun to work with professionals to make changes in my behavior and approach. In addition, my staff and I will participate in sexual harassment training provided by the city.
In the next few days, I will be reaching out to those who now work in the Mayor’s Office or have previously worked for me — both men and women — to personally apologize for my behavior.
Filner, 70, entered the mayor's office last year after serving 10 terms as a member of the House.