Assem­bly­woman faces fresh al­le­ga­tions

Manteca Bulletin - - Local/ State -

SACRA­MENTO (AP) — Assem­bly­woman Cristina Gar­cia was hit Wed­nes­day with fresh al­le­ga­tions of mis­con­duct in her of­fice, in­clud­ing fre­quent dis­cus­sions about sex and al­co­hol con­sump­tion at the Capi­tol.

San Diego lawyer Dan Gilleon filed a for­mal com­plaint with the Leg­is­la­ture de­tail­ing the al­le­ga­tions on be­half of four anony­mous for­mer em­ploy­ees in Gar­cia’s of­fice.

He said they will co­op­er­ate with an in­ves­ti­ga­tion but do not want their names to be pub­lic at this time for fear of ret­ri­bu­tion.

The com­plainants al­lege that Gar­cia reg­u­larly talked about her sex­ual ac­tiv­ity, in­clud­ing with other mem- bers, in front of staff. They also al­lege Gar­cia drank al­co­hol while do­ing of­fi­cial As­sem­bly busi­ness and pres­sured staff to join her in drink­ing at the of­fice or at bars.

The al­le­ga­tions came as Gar­cia is on a leave of ab­sence fol­low­ing news she is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated in the grop­ing of a for­mer male leg­isla­tive staff mem­ber in 2014.

None of the new com­plaints in­volve sex­ual mis­con­duct, but Gilleon said the for­mer em­ploy­ees con­sid­ered Gar­cia’s fre­quent talk about sex a form sex­ual ha­rass­ment.

“My clients will vig­or­ously de­fend what they have said, but I will in­sist that the As­sem­bly takes se­ri­ous steps to en­sure their pro­tec­tion against reprisal,” Gilleon said in a let­ter he de­liv­ered to the As­sem­bly Rules Com­mit­tee af­ter a press con­fer­ence on the Capi­tol steps.

Gar­cia, in a Face­book post, said she will ad­dress each of the is­sues in­di­vid­u­ally once an in­ves­ti­ga­tion has been com­pleted. But she said the claims don’t square with the at­mos­phere she worked to cre­ate. Her cur- rent and for­mer chiefs of staff de­nied the be­hav­iors de­scribed in the let­ter.

“I am con­fi­dent I have con­sis­tently treated my staff fairly and re­spect­fully. In a fast-paced leg­isla­tive of­fice, not every­one is the right fit for ev­ery po­si­tion, and I do un­der­stand how a nor­mal em­ploy­ment de­ci­sion could be mis­in­ter­preted by the in­di­vid­ual in­volved in that de­ci­sion,” Gar­cia wrote.

Gar­cia took a leave of ab­sence Fri­day af­ter news broke that Daniel Fierro, a for­mer staffer in an­other of­fice, al­leged she rubbed his back, grabbed his but­tocks and tried to grab his groin at a leg­isla­tive soft­ball game in 2014. She de­nies the claims.

The al­le­ga­tions against Gar­cia mark a stun­ning twist to the Cal­i­for­nia Leg­is­la­ture’s widen­ing sex­ual ha­rass­ment scan­dal that first broke open last fall and prompted two male as­sem­bly­men to re­sign. Gar­cia, a Demo­crat who rep­re­sents south­east Los An­ge­les, chaired the Leg­isla­tive Women’s Cau­cus un­til Wed­nes­day, when her col­leagues in­stalled Demo­cratic Assem­bly­woman Su­san Eg­gman of Stock­ton, as the in­terim chair.

Gar­cia has been one of the most vo­cal crit­ics against her col­leagues and a staunch ad­vo­cate of the #MeToo move­ment. She has au­thored nu­mer­ous bills about sex­ual as­sault, ac­tiv­ity and con­sent.

Gar­cia

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