Update, 11:30 a.m. Friday:

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia took a voluntary unpaid leave of absence Friday, a day after sexual misconduct allegations against her became public.

Garcia, a Democrat and chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, is accused of groping former legislative staff member Daniel Fierro in 2014, an allegation she denies. He reported the claim in January and it is now under formal investigation. Garcia said she’s taking leave to avoid distractions and any appearance of influence over the investigation.

“Upon reflection of the details alleged, I am certain I did not engage in the behavior I am accused of,” Garcia said in a statement. “However, as I’ve said before, any claims about sexual harassment must be taken seriously, and I believe elected officials should be held to a higher standard of accountability.”

Original Post:
The head of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus — and an outspoken supporter of the #MeToo and #WeSaid Enough movements — is facing accusations of sexual harassment.

As first reported by Politico, Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) has been accused of groping two men.

Garcia is currently under legislative investigation following a complaint that she cornered and groped a staffer after the 2014 legislative softball game.

“[Garcia] can confirm that she did attend the 2014 legislative softball game with a number of members and her staff,” said Teala Schaff, Garcia’s communications director.

“She also says she has zero recollection of engaging in any inappropriate behavior.”

A second man told Politico that Garcia groped him while at a Sacramento fundraiser in 2017.

Schaff said Garcia takes every complaint of sexual harassment seriously and that she will fully participate in any investigation that takes place.

Garcia has drawn national attention for speaking out against sexual harassment. Her picture was featured in Time Magazine as one of the “Silence Breakers” in its Person of the Year issue.

Sen. Connie Leyva (D-Chino), vice chair of the Women’s Caucus, said she is shocked by the allegations.

“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,” she said in a statement.

Leyva said she will ask the caucus to meet in the near future to discuss whether Garcia should remain as chair.

This post includes reporting by The Associated Press.

Legislative Women’s Caucus Leader Takes Leave Amid Sexual Harassment Allegations 9 February,2018Katie Orr

  • John

    Wow amazing KQED even reported this though note plight of illegal immigrant is the main story this is way down on the list. I know KQED HATES having to report this story! Thoug Scot Shaffer spent an enormous amount of time defending her

    • sg

      My thoughts exactly! It will be interested to see how this story is painted by KQED as it evolves.

    • T B Gunther

      They reported it. Why do u complain? Ax grinding is so prevalent and boring

      • John

        And why did you reply when you can not read and comprehend? And dribble from you is so annoying

  • Curious

    She needs to go. Now.

  • Bythe Coque

    Here’s the letter from Gilleon Law with the full latest allegations against Garcia!
    http://www.loscerritosnews.net/file/2018/02/Garcia-letter.pdf

    “Ms. Garcia often spoke, if not bragged, about her sexual activity. She would describe various sex acts in
    uncomfortable detail. She commonly had these conversations in front of staff members. She seemed to
    like to make her staff uncomfortable with this type of content. In fact, this content did make us uncomfortable”

    She is a bragger as well as a groper. Just like Trump!

Author

Katie Orr

Katie Orr is a Sacramento-based reporter for KQED’s Politics and Government  Desk, covering the state Capitol and a variety of issues including women in politics, voting and elections and legislation. Prior to joining KQED in 2016, Katie was state government reporter for Capital Public Radio in Sacramento. She’s also worked for KPBS in San Diego, where she covered City Hall.

Katie received her masters degree in political science from San Diego State University and holds a Bachelors degree in broadcast journalism from Arizona State University.

In 2015 Katie won a national Clarion Award for a series of stories she did on women in California politics. She’s been honored by the Society for Professional Journalists and, in 2013, was named by The Washington Post as one of the country’s top state Capitol reporters.   She’s also reported for the award-winning documentary series The View from Here and was part of the team that won  national PRNDI and  Gabriel Awards in 2015. She lives in Sacramento with her husband. Twitter: @1KatieOrr

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor