Should there be a criminal investigation into the allegations of sexual harassment surrounding Mayor Bob Filner, the San Diego Sheriff's Department will take the lead as the investigative agency.
On Friday, law enforcement officials announced that the Sheriff's Department would spearhead any potential sexual misconduct or harassment investigations surrounding the embattled mayor, who's been accused by former allies of inappropriately touching, kissing and groping several unidentified women.
Law enforcement officials say a framework has now been established for any possible criminal investigation on Filner, and it starts with a phone number.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department has created a special victim’s hotline for anyone wishing to come forward with reports of sexual harassment or other unlawful claims involving Filner.
The hotline – which can be reached at (619) 481-0220 – will be used by law enforcement if a criminal investigation into Filner is initiated.
It's designed for anyone who wants to report an incident in which they allegedly felt victimized or sexually harassed by the mayor. The claims will be then be investigated by officials, who will conduct a “thorough analysis of each complaint if warranted.”
Officials say those who report being the victim of a sexual offense will be provided anonymity under California Penal Code. Under Marsy’s Law, victims of sexual offenses can be accompanied by a representative or an advocate during the interview process with law enforcement.
According to Sheriff Bill Gore, the sheriff’s department will not be providing details to the public, should an investigation into Filner proceed.
If an investigation is warranted, officials say Capt. Duncan Fraser, who commands the San Diego County Sheriffs Department’s Central Investigations Division, will oversee the matter.
On Friday, the San Diego District Attorney’s office also outlined the process for a potential criminal investigation into the accusations surrounding Filner, confirming the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department would take the lead on this.
Earlier this week attorney Marco Gonzalez said his client is taking the next step to formalizing her allegations against Filner.
As of Friday afternoon, there has been no formal claim or charges filed against the mayor.
Late Friday, Mayor Filner released this statement about the victim's hotline established by law enforcement:
“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.”