SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - San Diego Mayor Bob Filner will complete intensive therapy treatment for sexually harassing women less than a week into the course, short of what was originally billed as a two-week session, the law firm representing him said on Friday.
“Upon completion of the treatment program, Mayor Filner is planning to continue therapy sessions on an outpatient basis,” according to a statement from Orange County-based Payne & Fears. “Mayor Filner is taking personal time next week and will be unavailable for comment.”
Filner would complete his treatment on Saturday, according to the statement. Earlier in the week his staff confirmed he began his two-week treatment as planned on Monday August 5.
Filner’s staff did not return calls Friday to ask about the mayor’s whereabouts.
The announcement is the latest twist in a scandal that began three weeks ago with anonymous allegations of inappropriate behavior with female staff floated by a former city councilwoman and two lawyers.
The allegations included one-sided flirtatious behavior, unwanted kissing, and inappropriate touching. Filner apologized and admitted he had disrespected women, and begged for the chance to become a better person.
The following week, lawyer Gloria Allred filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the city and Filner on behalf of her client, Irene McCormack Jackson, Filner’s former press secretary.
Jackson’s allegations included that the mayor suggested she would do better work while not wearing panties. Within days, the city attorney filed suit against Filner, demanding that he pay his own attorney fees and any judgment that came out of the suit.
Filner then promised to go into behavioral treatment and set a starting date of August 5. In the meantime, at least 14 women have come forward, alleging Filner inappropriately patted or kissed them, grabbed their buttocks or asked them out on dates.
Opponents have launched a recall campaign while the whole city council, plus a number of elected officials at the state legislature and at the federal level have called on Filner to resign. The San Diego County Democratic Party has also demanded his resignation.
Editing by Nick Carey and Ken Wills