California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who has gained national recognition as an activist for the #MeToo movement, is under investigation for sexual harassment allegations.
Daniel Fierro said in 2014, while he was working as a legislative staffer to Assemblyman Ian Calderon, he was groped by Garcia, Politico reported.
Garcia is a Democratic lawmaker who chairs the Legislative Women’s Caucus and Natural Resources Committee, and was also prominently featured in Time magazine in December when the “Silence Breakers” who spoke out against sexual harassment were named Persons of the Year.
I didn’t know I was part of the story. That I was pictured and added to a timeline of this reckoning. It’s an awkwardly humbling experience, but I am proud of this work and the company I am in. I hope you’ll pick up a copy of @TIME &read about the bravery.#MeToo #WeSaidEnough pic.twitter.com/P1bfCDPKCf— Cristina Garcia (@AsmGarcia) December 15, 2017
According to Fierro’s recount of the incident, Garcia cornered him in the dugout after the annual assembly softball game while he was cleaning up and she rubbed his back and grab his butt. Fierro said he believed Garcia was intoxicated and he quickly removed himself from the dugout when she attempted to touch his crotch.
Fierro said he never reported the incident, but mentioned it to Calderon when he was no longer working for the assemblyman last January. Calderon referred the matter to the Assembly Rules Committee which then launched an investigation into the alleged sexual harassment.
However, there are more accusations that Garcia made improper advances than just Fierro’s.
A Sacramento lobbyist, who preferred to remain anonymous for fear of reprisals, said Garcia cornered him in May 2017 at a political fundraiser and made a graphic sexual proposal while trying to grab his crotch. He said he could “smell the booze and see she was pretty far gone.”
Garcia released a statement on Thursday responding to the accusations from Fierro.
“Every complaint about sexual harassment should be taken seriously and I will participate fully in any investigation that takes place,” Garcia said in the statement. “The details of these claims have never been brought to my attention until today. I can confirm that I did attend the 2014 legislative softball game with a number of members and my staff. I can also say I have zero recollection of engaging in inappropriate behavior and such behavior is inconsistent with my values.”
A former legislative staffer for Garcia said she often spoke about sexual issues with young staffers in graphic detail and was known to be a heavy drinker.
Garcia has been working on legislation recently to expedite and track sexual harassment complaints in state government.
No one should have to wait for an investigative article to know the truth about the kind of environment they work in. I'm working with @SEIU1000 on a bill to create a centralized mechanism to track sexual harassment complaints in state government. https://t.co/6Ltyt8NcQP— Cristina Garcia (@AsmGarcia) January 26, 2018