Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner sentenced to three years probation for assaulting women

Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who admitted groping three women while in office, was sentenced Dec. 9 to three years of probation and three months house arrest.

Filner apologized to his family, his staff, the residents of San Diego and the women he offended, saying the behavior would never be repeated.

The former mayor vowed to “earn back my trust and integrity, no matter how long it takes.”

Filner, 71, will avoid jail time, though he is expected to spend three months under home confinement at his apartment complex. If he violates probation, he would face up to six months in jail.

Filner will be barred from seeking or holding public office while on probation, but could run again once his probation is completed. After 18 months, Filner can apply to have his probation reduced to informal probation. He can also petition to have his felony conviction reduced to a misdemeanor after 18 months.

He will be required to undergo mental health treatment while under court supervision. He also was fined about $1,500.

“I have already started on that path and am grateful to all those helping me. The letters submitted by my family show the progress they have already seen,” he said. “I am confident I will come out of this a better person and I look forward to making future contributions to the city I love.”

His home detention is expected to start Jan. 1.

A letter from Filner’s son, Adam, was among those attached to a probation report. Adam Filner said his relationship with his father has been “rocky,” but he said he was proud of his father for owning up to his mistakes.

According to a sentencing memorandum submitted by his defense team, Filner — once he became mayor — failed to keep up “with his longstanding exercise regimen and course of psychiatric counseling and medications that had been prescribed by congressional doctors to help stabilize his mood and safeguard his mental health.”

“The sudden disruption in his medications, coupled with longstanding issues of anxiety and the stress of assuming a new, intensely political executive position substantially contributed to conduct, described in the probation officer’s report, which has brought Mr. Filner before this court,” according to the defense memo.

The former 10-term congressman pled guilty in October to one felony count of false imprisonment and two misdemeanor counts of battery.

Supervising Deputy Attorney General Melissa Mandel told Presiding Judge Robert Trentacosta in October that Filner, while attending a fundraiser with “Jane Doe 1” on March 6, used “greater force than necessary” to restrain her against her will and used additional force to overcome her resistance, in a move that became known as the “Filner headlock.”

Mandel said Filner used force and kissed “Jane Doe 2” on the lips without her consent at a “Meet the Mayor” event on April 6.

Filner also admitted grabbing “Jane Doe 3” on the buttocks after she asked to take a picture with him at a May 25 rally at Fiesta Island.

During the sentencing hearing, Mandel told Judge Robert Trentacosta that Filner “demeaned and humiliated” his victims.

“He sold himself as a champion of civil rights,” the prosecutor said. “Only time will tell if Mr, Filner is a changed man.”

Filner resigned Aug. 30, after nearly 20 women came forward with allegations that he had groped or sexually harassed them over several years. One of those women was his former communications director, Irene McCormack Jackson, who has filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against him.

McCormack Jackson was in court today but did not speak. Her attorney, Gloria Allred, called Filner “one lucky man.”

“Let’s not ignore the fact that he (Filner) will not have to spend one day in jail or prison,” Allred said. “A criminal, such as Bob Filner, who has pleaded guilty to a felony and two misdemeanors, should not be able to simply stay at home for three months and avoid any time in custody.”

Under the plea deal, Filner will have to surrender his mayoral pension accrued from the time of the felony offense — March 6 — through his resignation.

—City News Service