On Thursday, a news story broke by POLITICO claims that California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia groped a legislative staffer in 2014 and made improper advances at a prominent lobbyist.
Garcia, who has been a strong voice of the #MeToo movement is now under investigation after it was reported she has sexually harassed and groped a former legislative staffer.
According to the article:
Daniel Fierro of Cerritos told POLITICO that in 2014, as a 25-year-old staffer to Assemblyman Ian Calderon, he was groped by Garcia, a powerful Democratic lawmaker who chairs the Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Natural Resources Committee.
He said she cornered him alone after the annual Assembly softball game in Sacramento as he attempted to clean up the dugout. Fierro, who said Garcia appeared inebriated, said she began stroking his back, then squeezed his buttocks and attempted to touch his crotch before he extricated himself and quickly left.
Fierro said he never reported the incident, which occurred years before the current #MeToo movement and new whistleblower legislation to protect legislative staffers. But after he mentioned the issue last January to Calderon, his former boss, the matter was then referred to the Assembly Rules Committee, which launched an investigation.
POLITICO also reported a Sacramento lobbyist has accused Garcia of improper advances.
The lobbyist, who represents a major industry association, said that Garcia appeared to have been drinking heavily at a fundraiser hosted by Governor Jerry Brown for state Senator Josh Newman at the de Veres bar in Sacramento. He said he was heading out the door in part to avoid the assemblywoman — who had been increasingly “flirtatious” and had called him on a few occasions before for late night drinks which he repeatedly declined.
She spotted him and said,“Where are you going?” the lobbyist said.
“She came back and was whispering real close and I could smell the booze and see she was pretty far gone,’’ he said. “She looked at me for a second and said, “I’ve set a goal for myself to fuck you.”
At that point, Garcia “stepped in front of me and reaches out and is grabbing for my crotch,’’ he said. That was “the line in the sand,” according to the lobbyist, and he stopped her. “I was four inches from her, eyeball to eyeball — and I said, ‘That ain’t gonna happen.’”
For the full story, visit POLITICO
After the story broke, Senator Connie Leyva, who is vice chair of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus called for Garcia to take an immediate leave of absence.
Senator Leyva Responds to Allegations Against Assemblymember Cristina Garcia
SACRAMENTO – California Legislative Women’s Caucus Vice Chair Senator Connie M. Leyva (D-Chino) released the following statement in response to recently reported sexual harassment and assault allegations against Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens):
“As a vocal ally of the #MeToo and #WeSaidEnough movements, I am shocked and disturbed at the very troubling allegations related to California Legislative Women’s Caucus Chair Cristina Garcia. I have consistently voiced my strong opinion that any legislator under investigation by either the Assembly or Senate should take an immediate leave of absence until the review is completed. As Vice Chair of the Women’s Caucus, I will be asking that the membership of the Caucus meet in the very near future to discuss the fate of Assemblymember Cristina Garcia as Women’s Caucus Chair.”
“Anyone proven to have sexually harassed or assaulted another person, regardless of their gender, should be held accountable for their actions. I commit to continue fighting to rid the Capitol and our state of the pervasive culture of sexual harassment, assault, and overall disrespect.”