Filner's admission came after one of his political allies, former City Councilwoman Donna Frye, joined attorneys Cory Briggs and Marco Gonzalez in publicly demanding his resignation over allegations he sexually harassed several women. The three initially raised the issue this week, alleging Filner had harassed city employees, U-T San Diego reported.
Filner, a Democrat who formerly represented California in Congress, began his statement Thursday by apologizing and conceding he has "diminished the office" of mayor.
"When a friend like Donna Frye is compelled to call for my resignation, I'm clearly doing something wrong," he said. "I have reached into my heart and soul and realized I must and will change my behavior."
Filner said he has "spent a lifetime fighting for equality for all people" and said he was "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."
"It's a good thing that behavior that would have been tolerated in the past is being called out in this generation for what it is: inappropriate and wrong," he said.
"I am also humbled to admit that I need help," Filner said, adding he has begun getting professional help "to make changes in my behavior and approach."
"If my behavior doesn't change, I cannot succeed in leading our city," he said.
Frye, Briggs and Gonzalez did not provide details and did not identify women who have accused Filner of harassment.
Frye, who resigned in April from Filner's City Hall staff, said she had received "credible firsthand evidence of more than one woman being sexually harassed," U-T San Diego reported.