SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Embattled San Diego Mayor Bob Filner announced Friday he plans to enter a two-week behavior counseling clinic in August, adding he does not plan to resign from office amid increasing calls for him to step down in the wake of several allegataions of sexual harassment.
In a statement before a large group of reporters, Filner apologized again to his staff, the citizens of San Diego and what he called a failure to respect women and for his "intimidating conduct."
"However, words along are not enough," he said. "I am responsible for my conduct and I must take responsibility for my conduct by taking action so that such conduct does not ever happen again."
In all, seven women have accused Flner of making unwanted sexual advances.
Filner said beginning August 5, he will be entering a two-week therapy program. He plans to return to work August 19. At that time he said he will focus on doing right by this city by "being the best mayor I can be and the best person I can be."
The mayor said he would be briefed on city business in the mornings and evenings, and will attend therapy during the day. No interim mayor will be named, because the city charter doesn't dictate how to handle the situation.
Filner's news conference was interrupted when the audio system failed, cutting off the multiple live television and Internet feeds of his remarks. Filner stepped back into his office while the system was repaired, and returned about 10 minutes later to complete his remarks.
Mayor Filner's statement:
Let me be absolutely clear: The behavior l have engaged in over many years is wrong.
My failure to respect women and the intimidating conduct I engaged in at times is inexcusable. It has undermined what I have spent by professional life working on: fighting for equality and justice for all people. It is simply not acceptable for me to try to explain away my conduct as the product of the standards of a different generation.
I apologize to my staff. I apologize to the citizens and staff members who have supported me over the years. I apologize to the people of San Diego. And, most of all, I apologize to the women I have offended.
Over the last week I have reached out to the men and women who served on my staff, and others who I have Worked with over the years, and apologized for my behavior. In addition, we have instituted changes in how the Mayor's Office is run.
However, words alone are not enough. I am responsible for my conduct. And I must take responsibility for my conduct by taking action so that such conduct does not ever happen again.
Beginning August 5th, I will be entering a behavioral counseling clinic to undergo two weeks of intensive therapy to begin the process of addressing my behavior. During this time period, I will be at the clinic fulltime -though every morning and every evening I will get briefing on City activities.
This intensive counseling will just be the first step in what will be a continuing program that will involve ongoing, regular counseling.
I must become a better person.And my hope is that by becoming a better person I put myself in a position to someday be forgiven.
However, before I can even think of asking for forgiveness, I need to demonstrate that my behavior has changed. And that will only happen over time and only if such incidents never, ever happen again.
When I return on August 19th, my focus will be making sure I am doing right by this City in terms of being the best Mayor I can be and the best person I must be.
In response to Filner's announcement, City Council President Todd Gloria released a statement reiterating his call for the mayor to resign.
"The mayor has finally acknowledged his very serious disorder which prevents his ability to govern and seriously affects his ability to interact with people. As would be the case with any leader in city government or business, the standard he has to uphold is greater than to simply get treatment," Gloria's statement said.
Councilmember Kevin Faulconer responded to Filner's statement via Twitter: "Bob Filner should leave to receive the help he obviously needs, but he shouldn't take the office of the mayor and city government with him."
Earlier Friday, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, a Florida congresswoman, called Filner's alleged misconduct "reprehensible and indefensible" and called on the mayor to step down "for the good of the city of San Diego."
Shortly before Filner spoke, land-use consultant Michael Pallamary delivered a letter to the mayor's office demanding that he step down by Monday at 5 p.m. or face a recall campaign. A "Recall Bob Filner" Facebook page Pallamary started last month has garnered nearly 6,400 "likes."
The website Voiceofsandiego.org has reported that LGBT activist Stampp Corbin, the owner and publisher of LGBT Weekly, took out an advertisement in U-T San Diego to signal his intent to start a recall campaign.
Pallamary or Corbin will need to collect about 102,000 valid signatures to qualify a recall election for a citywide ballot.
The mayor did not take questions following his announcement, and he ignored our camera when we approached him on the street.