POLITICS
07/11/2013 06:29 pm ET Updated Jul 12, 2013

Bob Filner Apologizes Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations: 'I Have Failed' (VIDEO)

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner apologized Thursday as allegations that he sexually harassed women continued to stir controversy.

"I begin today by apologizing to you. I have diminished the office to which you elected me. I have reached into my heart and soul and realize I must and will change my behavior," he said in a statement, according to NBC San Diego.

"As someone who has spent a lifetime fighting for equality for all people, I am embarrassed to admit that I have failed to fully respect the women who work for me and with me, and that at times I have intimidated them," Filner said in the statement. "I am also humbled to admit that I need help. I have begun to work with professionals to make changes in my behavior and approach. In addition, my staff and I will participate in sexual harassment training provided by the city. Please know that I fully understand that only I am the one who can make these changes."

Filner had refused to respond to allegations earlier, even when several high-profile San Diego figures and former allies of the mayor called for him to step down over the controversy.

The AP reported earlier:

A letter to Filner from former Councilwoman Donna Frye obtained by station KPBS said she recently received "credible evidence" that the mayor harassed more than one woman. She asked that the City Council schedule a special election to replace him.

Frye didn't immediately respond to a phone message from The Associated Press, but was scheduled to appear at a news conference Thursday.

Frye's urging came two days after Filner's fiance, Bronwyn Ingram, announced in an email to her team of volunteers that she was breaking their engagement.

"I am extremely disappointed and heartbroken, both for what Team First Lady could have accomplished, and for me, personally; however, this is the only action I can take given the devolvement of our personal relationship," Ingram wrote.

ALSO ON HUFFPOST:

PHOTO GALLERY
HuffPost
BEFORE YOU GO
10 Dumbest Excuses for Political Sex Scandals
PHOTO GALLERY
10 Dumbest Excuses for Political Sex Scandals

CONVERSATIONS