Ex-Mayor Bob Filner breaks silence, seeks redemption in #MeToo era

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SAN DIEGO – For the first time since former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner resigned amid sexual harassment claims, he broke his silence Monday.

Filner was interviewed Monday morning as part of KQED's radio show "The California Report" in the Bay Area. Filner discussed the topic was the #MeToo movement.

“The harm I did to anyone, of course, I continue to sincerely apologize,” said Filner.

“I think as we get through this and the 'Me Too' movement does have a powerful effect. We have to get through a balance. Also, there is due process. If people do work hard to change there is some redemption there is some forgiveness,” said Filner.

Filner resigned as mayor of San Diego in 2013 after numerous accusations of sexual misconduct.

He later pleaded guilty to charges of false imprisonment and sexual battery.  Filner was asked why he did it, he said it had nothing to do with sex or power.

“You continue to seek that self-esteem, validation. Nobody would say no to you and that becomes very intoxicating again without necessarily knowing it consciously,” said Filner.

More than a dozen women accused Filner of sexual harassment, one of them was former KPBS reporter Katie Orr.

Orr now works for Capital Public Radio in Sacramento, but 4 years ago she was working in San Diego covering City Hall, which included the race for mayor.

It was at a news conference where Orr said Filner put her in a headlock, while making sexual comments.

Orr said she pushed him away that day, but the experience has always stuck with her.  Even now when asked for her response to Filner’s apology Monday, Orr said apology not accepted.

“He put me in a headlock at a news conference because he knows he could and he did this to me, he didn’t do this my male colleagues that were attending the same press conference,” said Orr.

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