In typical liberal fashion, one California lawmaker allegedly doesn’t think the rules she advocates apply to herself.
California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who appeared in Time magazine last year for her work advocating the #MeToo movement against sexual misconduct, stands accused of sexually assaulting one man and sexually harassing another.
Daniel Fierro told Politico that in 2014, when he was a 25-year-old staffer working for Assemblyman Ian Calderon, Garcia cornered him alone after an Assembly softball game.
Fierro said Garcia, who chairs the Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Natural Resources Committee, appeared drunk as she began stroking his back and squeezing his buttocks.
The staffer former staffer, who is now president of his own communications firm, claimed Garcia attempted to grab his crotch, but he quickly fled.
Fierro said that at the time he did not report Garcia, who has claimed to have been a victim of sexual misconduct herself.
Last January, Fierro related the incident to Calderon, who referred it to the Assembly Rules Committee, which began an investigation into Garcia.
Fierro said he fears a reprisal against his business, which is involved in California politics. “Who wants to be that guy that Cristina Garcia is going after?” he told Politico.
The former staffer’s account was confirmed by two individuals. Lerna Shirinian, the communications director for Calderon, said “I remember it very clearly, he told me as soon as it happened..he was in shock, I was in shock — but the culture was very different back then.”
Another staffer who asked for anonymity said he remembered the incident and Garcia’s drunkenness. He also claimed the assemblywoman was known to speak to young staffers about sexual issues in graphic detail.
A Sacramento lobbyist who wished to remain anonymous told Politico that Garcia made a graphic sexual proposal and tried to grab his crotch during a May 2017 fundraiser for California Governor Jerry Brown.
According to the lobbyist, Garcia was “flirtatious” with him throughout the night. At one point, she cornered him as he headed out the door to avoid her.
“She came back and was whispering real close and I could smell the booze and see she was pretty far gone,” the lobbyist said. “She looked at me for a second and said, ‘I’ve set a goal for myself to f*** you.'”
He continued, she “stepped in front of me and reaches out and is grabbing for my crotch.” He called the action “the line in the sand” and recalled: “I was four inches from her, eyeball to eyeball — and I said, ‘That ain’t gonna happen.’”
Garcia was one of hundreds of women in Sacramento who signed a letter with the hashtag #WeSaidEnough to protest sexual harassment. She also supported whistleblower legislation making it easier for California Assembly staffers to report sexual misconduct.
Garcia’s work earned her an inclusion in Time magazine’s Person of the Year issue in December, which recognized “The Silence Breakers,” women who have raised awareness of widespread sexual abuse.
I didn’t know I was part of the story. That I was pictured and added to a timeline of this reckoning. It’s an awkwardly humbling experience, but I am proud of this work and the company I am in. I hope you’ll pick up a copy of @TIME &read about the bravery.#MeToo #WeSaidEnough pic.twitter.com/P1bfCDPKCf
— Cristina Garcia (@AsmGarcia) December 15, 2017
A spokeswoman for Garcia said the lawmaker was previously aware of Fierro’s complaint but not of its details.
“Every complaint about sexual harassment should be taken seriously and I will participate fully in any investigation that takes place,” Garcia said in a 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.”
Jessica Levinson, a law professor and president of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, argued that the allegations would hurt the #MeToo movement if proven true.
“Hypocrisy knows no bounds and no partisanship, it crosses all party affiliations,” Levinson said. “To the extent that these are substantiated claims, there’s a picture of Cristina Garcia as a hypocrite in the dictionary.”
A hypocritical liberal? What else is new?