Filner could be jailed if he violates terms of probation

SAN DIEGO — As mayor, Bob Filner had a police officer as his driver and bodyguard, escorting him in a city-owned SUV with tinted windows — any time and anywhere.

As ex-mayor and convicted felon, Filner will be under orders to wear a GPS anklet during three months of home confinement that will track his movements and alert authorities if he strays beyond medical appointments, religious services and court dates.

If caught violating the terms of his probation, Filner, 71, could be sent to jail immediately under a sentencing decision Monday by San Diego County Superior Court Judge Robert Trentacosta.

The sentence, part of a plea bargain, spares Filner jail time but reduces his pension and bans him from running for office during his three years of probation. Filner pleaded guilty to three counts of mistreating women.

A probation report said Filner is undergoing counseling and taking medication commonly prescribed for depression, anxiety and mood disorders.


While in Congress, he saw a psychiatrist and had prescriptions to stabilize his behavior, but when he returned to San Diego to run for mayor he stopped taking the medications, according to the report.

Filner’s attorney, Jerry Coughlan, told reporters that a “disruption” in Filner’s medication after returning to San Diego helps explain his abusive behavior as mayor.

Filner resigned Aug. 30 amid accusations from more than 20 women that he had subjected them to unwanted touching and sexual comments. On Oct. 15, he pleaded guilty to one count of false imprisonment and two of misdemeanor battery.

None of the three victims, listed only as Jane Does 1, 2 and 3, opted to make a “victim’s impact statement.”

In a brief statement, Filner offered an apology to his family, staff, supporters and to “the women I have hurt and offended.”

Filner said his misbehavior toward women “will never be repeated.” He said he will work to regain the public’s trust: “I look forward to making further contributions to the city I love.”

The prosecutor, Deputy Atty. Gen. Melissa Mandel, told Trentacosta that Filner’s actions offended and demeaned the three victims and hurt San Diego. She said some of the victims had come to meet Filner to discuss public issues and instead were treated disrespectfully.

Filner used “the power of public office” to scare women, Mandel said, adding, “Filner sold himself to voters as a champion of civil rights, but his pattern of abusing women reveals a very different person.”

In the felony case, Filner put a woman in a headlock. In the misdemeanor cases, Filner kissed one woman and grabbed another on the buttocks.

Filner’s two ex-wives and former fiancee wrote letters in support of leniency.

Bronwyn Ingram, his former fiancee, whom he once described as “San Diego’s first lady,” said the ex-mayor is now “a hard-working man now dedicated to achieving personal health, harmony and peace.”

Ingram said he broke up with Filner after noticing “behavioral changes in Bob that rendered him, in my opinion, less than optimally effective as mayor.” She ended their relationship after catching him making dates with other women.

Ingram mentioned Filner’s experience as a Freedom Rider during the civil rights movement in the South. Jane Merrill, married to Filner for 23 years, noted his “extraordinary drive to make life better for working people and the less fortunate,” including injured and sick military veterans.

Trentacosta ordered Filner to serve 90 days of home confinement starting Jan. 1.

Outside court, attorney Gloria Allred blasted the plea bargain as too soft. She said Filner should have been prosecuted under a felony law as a “sexual predator,” sent to prison and made to register as a sex offender.

“Your freedom is a gift you do not deserve,” Allred said. She represents former Filner aide Irene McCormack Jackson in a sexual harassment civil suit against Filner. A hearing is set for January.

Filner was elected a year ago to succeed termed-out Republican Jerry Sanders. He was the first Democratic mayor since Maureen O’Connor, who served two decades ago.