Embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner on Friday defied calls to resign over a hail of sexual harassment allegations, but apologized to the women he offended and said he would take a two-week leave of absence to undergo intensive therapy.
A day after the San Diego County Democratic Central Committee urged him to step down, the 70-year-old Democrat and former congressman said he would enter a counseling clinic on Aug. 5, while keeping an eye on the affairs of California's second largest city.
"The behavior I have engaged in over many years is wrong," Filner told a news conference. "My failure to respect women and the intimidating conduct I engaged in at times is inexcusable. It has undermined what I have spent my entire professional life working on - fighting for equality and justice for all people."
Seven women have publicly accused Filner of groping and making other unwanted sexual advances toward them, including four who came forward in a group interview aired late Thursday on public television station KPBS.