LOS ANGELES, California - The mayor of the US city of San Diego resigned Friday amid a wave of sexual harassment complaints, issuing a blanket apology but also decrying the "hysteria" surrounding the case.
Mayor Bob Filner, a Democrat elected mayor of the southern Californian city in November, endured weeks of calls for his resignation. Angry citizens even organised a recall effort to remove him from office.
"I apologise to all of you," said Filner, 70, as he announced his resignation after a closed-door meeting with City Council members.
Filner, however remained defiant.
"Not one allegation ... has ever been independently verified or proven in court. I have never sexually harassed anyone. But there's a hysteria that has been created, that many of you helped to feed. It's the hysteria of a lynch mob."
As part of the agreement to leave office, San Diego will pay for a joint legal defence against sexual harassment lawsuits filed by employees or contractors.
"I think I let you down," said Filner, whose last day on the job is August 30.
"To all the women that I offended, I had no intention to be offensive, to violate any physical or emotional space," he said. "I was trying to establish personal relationships, but the combination of awkwardness and hubris led to behaviour that many found offensive."