By Marty Graham
SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - Former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, who resigned his post after a string of sexual harassment allegations, was sentenced on Monday to probation and three months of home confinement on false imprisonment and battery charges involving three women.
A former Democratic congressman who served only a brief mayoral tenure after being elected last year, Filner was accused of placing one woman in a headlock and kissing or groping two others. He pleaded guilty to the charges in October.
Filner, 71, who will serve three years of probation in addition to 90 days of home confinement, apologized for his actions at his sentencing. None of the women involved in the case spoke in court, and they were not identified in court documents.
"I want to apologize to my family who have stood by me through this ordeal, to my loyal staff and supporters, to the citizens of San Diego and, most sincerely, to the women who I have hurt and offended," the ex-mayor said in court.
If he violates his probation, Filner would face up to six months in jail, San Diego County Superior Court spokeswoman Karen Dalton said in an email. His home detention is expected to start on January 1, according to City News Service.
Filner will also be barred from seeking public office while he is on probation under the sentence imposed on him by San Diego Presiding Judge Robert Trentacosta.
Filner last year became the first Democrat in years to lead the relatively conservative Southern California city. He resigned as mayor in August as he faced a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by his former press secretary, Irene McCormack Jackson.
The same day the criminal case was filed against him, the former 10-term congressman pleaded guilty in a plea agreement to the charges: one count of felony false imprisonment and two misdemeanor counts of battery.
High-profile attorney Gloria Allred, who represents Jackson in the civil case against Filner, criticized the sentence.
"A criminal such as Bob Filner who has pled 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," Allred told reporters outside court.
Filner is taking anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications, according to a probation report submitted in the case. He is receiving $70,000 a year in pension benefits, according to the report.
His attorney, Jerry Coughlan, told reporters his client was seeing a psychiatrist and a psychologist.
"It is very clear that his behavior has changed," Coughlan said. "He is on the way to behaving in a more normal way."
Under his sentence, Filner will be confined to his apartment complex and not just the apartment itself.
The ex-mayor's former girlfriend, Bronwyn Ingram, said in a letter to the court that Filner "is a hard-working man now, dedicated to achieving personal health, harmony and peace."
(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles; editing by Cynthia Johnston, Matthew Lewis and Jonathan Oatis)