Tuesday, 19 March, 2019

Leader of Legislative Women's Caucus Accused of Sexual Harassment

Leader of Legislative Women's Caucus Accused of Sexual Harassment Leader of Legislative Women's Caucus Accused of Sexual Harassment
Patty Aguilar | 09 February, 2018, 17:00

In a news that could put the whole #MeToo campaign's credibility at risk, Cristina Garcia, the person behind the #MeToo movement has herself been accused of sexually harassing a legislative staffer.

Fierro told Politico that Garcia cornered him alone after the annual Assembly softball game in Sacramento as he was cleaning up the dugout.

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia allegedly stroked the then-25-year-old staffer's back, tried to squeeze his buttocks and attempted to grab his crotch as he walked away from her.

Assemblywomen, Shirley, Weber, D-San Diego, left, Cristina Garcia, D-Bell Gardens, center, and Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, listen as members of the women's caucus in the state Senate read a letter from the victim in the Stanford sexual assault case on June 13, 2016, at the Capitol in Sacramento.

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.

The investigation into Garcia is one of many in statehouses nationwide following a wave of sexual misconduct allegations against men in power since an October expose of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein by the New York Times.

"Multiple people have grabbed my butt and grabbed my breasts", she wrote.

Fierro, who was 25 at the time, did not report the incident because he anxious about the long-term consequences that could come with accusing the powerful lawmaker, who chairs the Legislative Women's Caucus and the Natural Resources Committee.

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Fierro said he chose to tell Calderon about the incident because of Garcia's outspokenness in the #MeToo movement.

"The details of these claims have never been brought to my attention until today", the statement read. 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 behaviour and such behaviour is inconsistent with my values".

In December, when Time magazine announced that "Silence Breakers" who spoke out against sexual harassment were its Persons of the Year, Garcia's face was prominently included in the art accompanying the cover story.

Garcia was elected in 2012 and has carved out a name as a champion of women's issues and environmental health for poor communities and chairs the Women's Caucus. Fierro, at the time, was working for Assemblyman Ian Calderon when he was groped by Garcia. "It's an awkwardly humbling experience, but I am proud of this work and the company I am in".

"She came back and was whispering real close and I could smell the booze and see she was pretty far gone", the man said. "I think our public also expects us to hold ourselves to a higher standard".

"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 was four inches from her, eyeball to eyeball - and I said, 'That ain't gonna happen'".

When the legislation was introduced last fall, Garcia vowed not to work with any lawmakers who had been accused of sexual harassment.

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