A California Democrat who is being investigated for sexually groping two men is a leading voice in the #MeToo movement. Cristina Garcia is a state assemblywoman who lives in Los Angeles County and was featured as one of the “Silence Breakers” in Time magazine’s Person of the Year issue on the growing anti-sexual harassment movement. She is the chair of the Legislative Women’s Caucus and has written laws combating cyberbullying. Garcia claims to be a victim of sexual harassment and once signed a letter marked #WeSaidEnough to call for an end to sexual misconduct. Now she’s on the receiving end of the complaints.
The first alleged incident happened in 2014. Daniel Fierro was an aide to Democratic Assemblyman Ian Calderon. He says an inebriated Garcia cornered him after an Assembly softball game as he cleaned the dugout, where she stroked his back, squeezed his buttocks, and tried to grab his crotch. Fierro said he didn’t say anything publicly at the time because, “Who wants to be that guy that Cristina Garcia is going after?” But with the assemblywoman’s prominent leadership in the #MeToo movement, Fierro wanted her exposed.
"If the person leading the charge on it isn't credible it just ends up hurting the credibility of these very real stories," Fierro said.
It was also noted that Garcia was known to speak graphically about sex to young staffers and was often drunk.
The second alleged incident occurred just last year, the same year she was pictured among other #MeToo-ers in Time’s Person of the Year issue. This time, she propositioned a lobbyist, who didn’t give his name, at a fundraiser.
“She came back and was whispering real close and I could smell the booze and she was pretty far gone,” he described. “She looked at me for a second and said, ‘I’ve set a goal for myself to f*** you.’”
Garcia also reached for his crotch, to which he replied, “That ain’t gonna happen.”
The assemblywoman released a statement claiming no memory of these actions:
Every complaint about sexual harassment should be taken seriously and I will participate fully in any investigation that takes place. 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.
Garcia recently had harsh words for a fellow assemblyman who was charged with groping a female colleague, saying she refuses to work with him. She is also very supportive of all state initiatives put forward for whistleblower protections for those reporting misconduct. Garcia has specifically stated that alcohol is not to blame for harassment at workplace events and that all the blame should be on men who choose to misbehave. She has spoken repeatedly about being groped on the buttocks and breasts by “senior lobbyists and lawmakers” at the state capitol in Sacramento. And now, she can count herself as one of the guys.