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Sheriff's department sets up hotline for women to report Filner harassment claims

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July 11, 2013: San Diego Mayor Bob Filner apologizes for his behavior in this frame from a video produced by the city of San Diego. (AP)

As pressure continued to mount on San Diego mayor Bob Filner to resign over the weekend, the San Diego County Sheriff's Office announced that it was creating a special hotline to handle sexual harassment complaints against the 70-year-old Democrat. 

UTSanDiego.com reported that the sheriff's office announced Friday that it would be the lead investigative agency for any complaints against Filner and any information gleaned via the hotline would be turned over to the California Attorney General's office for possible prosecution. 

Filner responded to the hotline's creation with a statement saying "I very much welcome the fact that some of these allegations will finally be addressed by an appropriate investigative authority rather than by press conference and innuendo. As I have stated before, everyone deserves due process and I am encouraged an effort to implement that has begun."

No formal complaints or lawsuits have been filed against Filner and none of his alleged victims have come forward. Under California law, victims of sexual assault may be given anonymity.

Filner, the first Democrat to be elected mayor of San Diego since 1992, has vowed not to step aside since the allegations became public June 10. On that date, a letter addressed to Filner from former San Diego Councilwoman and Filner aide Donna Frye became public. In the letter, Frye informed Filner that she had received "credible evidence" that the mayor had harassed more than one woman and called on both Filner to resign and the city council to remove Filner from office if he would not go. 

The next day, Filner publicly apologized for inappropriate behavior, but denied the sexual harassment charges and asked that San Diego's voters "give me an opportunity to prove I am capable of change, so that the vision I have for our city's future can be realized."

In the days since, former supporters have come forward with sexual harassment and groping allegations against Filner, to the extent that the Mayor has been asked by the city's chief operating officer not to meet with any women behind closed doors. 

The San Diego Sheriff's Office hotline for claims against Filner can be reached by dialing 619-481-0220. 

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