Male staffer accuses California assemblywoman of misconduct

Violet Powell
February 10, 2018

Garcia says she is "certain" she did not engage in such behavior.

A California assemblywoman leading the Me Too movement against sexual assault and harassment is being investigated for misconduct after two men, a former staffer and a lobbyist, said she groped them.

Garcia was quick to respond to the allegations and issued a statement saying that every such complaint about sexual harassment needs to be taken seriously and has also said that she will "fully" participate in any investigation.

"A prominent Sacramento lobbyist says she also accosted him in May 2017, when she cornered him, made a graphic sexual proposal, and tried to grab his crotch at a political fundraiser", Politico reported.

Garcia is now under legislative investigation following a complaint that she cornered and groped a staffer after the 2014 legislative softball game.

However, when Garcia emerged as a leader of a global anti-sexual harassment campaign, he chose to call out her hypocrisy.

Garcia, 38, a native of Bell Gardens in Los Angeles County and a former math teacher, was elected to the Assembly in 2012.

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Complainant Daniel Fierro alleges that Garcia cornered him in a dugout during an annual Assembly softball game held in the state capital of Sacramento. Her picture was featured in Time Magazine as one of the "Silence Breakers" in its Person of the Year Issue. At first he thought she was just trying to steady herself, but then Garcia grabbed his back, he said, and began to stroke it.

Burke admitted to investigators that she - according to a document made public February 2 - "participated in an inappropriate conversation regarding anal sex with capitol office staff".

The lobbyist also said that Garcia appeared to be intoxicated. In the past year, she has become a leader in the state's efforts to combat sexual misconduct and an outspoken voice in the #MeToo movement that has swept through the country.

Fierro said he came forward because of Garcia's prominent role in the #MeToo movement. "She looked at me for a second and said, 'I've set a goal for myself to f*** you'". It disturbed me to read that Fierro said a reason why he didn't say anything had to do with sexual harassment training he received because it "never included examples where the victim was a man and the perpetrator was a woman, so he "didn't have a way to frame it" in his mind".

"He was in shock, I was in shock - but the culture was very different back then", Shirinian told Politico. He added that Garcia appeared so drunk that he would not be surprised if she did not remember that day.

"I refuse to work with (Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra) and anyone who takes part in harassment or assault", she tweeted in October after it was reported Bocanegra had been disciplined in 2009 for groping a colleague.

Even after the #MeToo movement took off a year ago, Fierro was initially reluctant to come forward out of concern that it might distract from the many women who have made claims against powerful men in politics, entertainment and media. The Assembly Rules Committee, which is handling the investigation, has not scheduled an interview with her, Schaff told The Post.

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