Could Filner face criminal charges as well? - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Could Filner face criminal charges as well?

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - With so many accusers coming forward with allegations against Mayor Filner, the question now is when does this type of behavior become potentially criminal?

At what point does the offensive behavior become a potentially criminal act for which the mayor could be prosecuted and punished?

For misdemeanor sexual battery, criminal defense attorney and News 8 legal analyst Bill Nimmo says the elements are clear.

"Touching some part of her that is intimate, her breasts, buttocks, doing it against her will without her consent and doing it for some sexual arousal purpose," Nimmo explained.

To rise to felony sexual battery, the elements including touching a victim's intimate areas are the same.

"Except it has to be touching bare skin, and that person has to be restrained," Nimmo said.

According to Nimmo, a headlock could be considered a type of restraint. But what about forcing a kiss on an unwilling woman's lips? Nimmo says while that would not rise to sexual battery, it could be considered simple battery.

"Because simple battery is a rude or offensive touching that is not consented to, and certainly if you don't know someone and they forced a kiss on you, that could be very offensive," he said.

What about the mayor's decision to enter rehab, in terms of legal strategy? Nimmo says while it would not stop a potential criminal prosecution, it could decrease the severity of Filner's sentence if he is ultimately found guilty.

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