A female California Democratic lawmaker who played a prominent role in launching the #MeToo movement is currently under a #MeToo investigation herself for allegedly sexually harassing and groping two men, a former staffer and a prominent lobbyist. In its bombshell report on the investigation, Politico notes that the high-profile lawmaker's alleged hypocrisy "threatens to seriously damage the nationwide movement that has been credited with bringing the issue of sexual harassment into the open."
California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who was featured on the cover of Time magazine's "Silence Breakers" to honor her role as one of the first lawmakers to speak out against sexual harassment, is, as Politico describes her, "a powerful Democratic lawmaker" who serves as chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus, and "one of Sacramento’s leading voices on the #MeToo issue." She was one of hundreds of women from her area who signed a letter declaring "#WeSaidEnough" in protestation of sexual harassment and has claimed to have personally been a victim of harassment.
However, Garcia is also herself currently under investigation after two men accused her of sexual misconduct. Daniel Fierro of Cerritos, a former staffer to Assemblyman Ian Calderon, told Politico that in 2014, when he was 25, Garcia groped him after an Assembly softball game:
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.
And Fierro isn't the only man leveling charges at Garcia. A man Politico describes as a "prominent Sacramento lobbyist," who spoke on the condition of anonymity, has also come forward to accuse Garcia of groping him in May 2017:
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 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.’”
Garcia issued a statement Thursday in response to the reports of the investigation into her alleged sexual misconduct.
"Every complaint about sexual harassment should be taken seriously and I will participate fully in any investigation that takes place," she 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."
One of Garcia's spokeswomen clarified afterward that the assemblywoman had in fact been aware of the report to the Assembly Rules committee, but wasn't aware of the "details" of the complaints against her.
Below are examples of posts by Garcia touting her work promoting the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements: