Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who is the head of the Legislative Women’s Caucus and a leading figure in the state’s anti-sexual harassment movement, is accused of groping a male staffer from another lawmaker’s office.
Daniel Fierro alleges that Garcia stroked his back, squeezed his buttocks and attempted to touch his crotch in a dugout after a legislative softball game in 2014.
He did not report the alleged incident at the time but in January of this year, told his former boss, Democratic Assemblyman Ian Calderon, who reported it to Assembly leaders.
Cristina Garcia is now under investigation by the Assembly.
Fiero told The Associated Press that he decided to speak up about the incident because of Garcia’s outspokenness in the #MeToo movement, which references the social media campaign used by millions to tell personal experiences of sexual harassment.
The investigation is still ongoing, an outside law firm hired by the Assembly Rules Committee interviewed Fiero who was 25 at the time of the alleged sexual misconduct, last Friday.
A second person reportedly came forward with a sexual misconduct allegation toward Garcia, saying she made crude sexual comments and tried to grab his crotch at a 2017 fundraiser but has opted to stay anonymous.
Both alleged victims say Garcia was intoxicated at the time of the individual incidents.
Garcia was elected in 2012 and has championed women’s issues and environmental health for poor communities even being featured in Time Magazine’s Person of the Year issue on being one of the “Silence Breakers” on sexual harassment.
Garcia was a strong advocate for legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on Monday which gives legislative staff members whistleblower protections for reporting sexual misconduct or other misbehavior.
Signed, sealed and delivered to @JerryBrownGov. Proud to have worked with @asmMelendez as she persisted on this essential legislation that was long overdue. Persistence has prevailed! #WeSaidEnough #TimesUp #Ab403 pic.twitter.com/ot9AMeNtzg tweet
However, she is now accused of doing the very same thing she’s been fighting against.
In an official statement released Friday, Garcia “denies the behavior she is accused of.”
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