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Lawmaker at #MeToo's Forefront Accused of Sexual Harassment

Lawmaker at #MeToo's Forefront Accused of Sexual Harassment

"I can also say I have zero recollection of engaging in inappropriate behavior and such behavior is inconsistent with my values".

"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", she wrote.

"Every complaint about sexual harassment should be taken seriously and I will participate fully in any investigation that takes place", Garcia's statement read.

Fierro, who now runs a communications firm, said Garcia was slurring her words and swaying back and forth when she approached him in the softball field dugout after the 2014 game.

Daniel Fierro, who worked for Assemblyman Ian Calderon at the time, did not immediately report Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia for the incident.

Spurned by Garcia's outspokenness in the anti-sexual harassment campaign, Fierro in January made a decision to report Garcia to Calderon. The California assemblywoman has carved out a recent niche in the Golden State as an advocate against sexual harassment, raising her profile to national status, Politico's Carla Marinucci reports. "As in other cases, while the investigation moves forward, I am also asking Assembly Human Resources to reach out to Assemblymember Garcia's staff to ensure they feel safe in their work environment".

When Time magazine unveiled its "Person of the Year" issue in December, Garcia's photo was among the dozens of pictures of "Silence Breakers" who went public about their experiences as the victims of sexual misconduct. In his words, Garcia touched him on his back with her hand, touching his buttocks, and even trying to catch him for the crotch.

Ms Garcia is accused of groping another lawmaker's male aide after an annual legislative softball game in 2014.

A spokesman from Garcia's office, Teala Schaff, said the assemblywoman was told about the complaint on January 23, but learned of details of the allegation in a Politico report.

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Fierro said outside counsel, working on behalf of the Rules Committee, questioned him a week ago about the incident.

According to the lobbyist, it wasn't the first incident where the assemblywoman had made overtures.

Should Garcia catch a break because of the intoxication factor, if these allegations are true?

The allegations against Garcia emerged in the wake of a nationwide movement to call out sexual harassment and abuse by people in positions of power.

A spokeswoman for Garcia said the lawmaker was previously aware of Fierro's complaint but not of its details.

In a November interview with the Associated Press news agency about alcohol at political fundraisers, Ms Garcia said that blaming drink is not an acceptable excuse for inappropriate sexual behaviour. "She looked at me for a second and said, "I've set a goal for myself to fuck you".

Assembly Democrats Raul Bocanegra and Matt Dababneh, both of the San Fernando Valley, resigned in late 2017 amid sexual misconduct scandals. "I think our public also expects us to hold ourselves to a higher standard".

The Assembly at the Capitol has already launched an investigation.


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