Democrat California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), the woman who has led the #MeToo charge against sexual harassment in the Golden State, is facing new allegations of sexual misconduct.
According to Southern California Public Radio, San Diego lawyer Dan Gilleon filed a formal complaint against Garcia, on behalf of four anonymous former members of her staff, with the Assembly Rules Committee detailing allegations that she had discussions about sex and drinking alcohol in her office.
Garcia reportedly took an unpaid leave of absence starting Friday after allegations surfaced that she had groped a former male legislative staffer in 2014 and that she grabbed the attempted to sleep with a lobbyist. She denies the claims.
The anonymous former staff members reportedly did not wish to release their names publicly for fear of retribution.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Garcia wrote:
I took a voluntary, unpaid leave because I have committed to following the process and will continue to work on it’s reform to ensure unilateral justice. Out of respect for what the process demands, I will address each of these issues individually after the investigations into these allegations are closed. However, in response to today’s allegations I will add that in order for legislators to accomplish all we want for the people of our districts and the people of California, we need talented staff who feel empowered to do their work. That is the environment I strive for in my office and 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. In any case, anyone on my staff should always feel absolutely free to bring up any issue surrounding our office environment so we can address the situation and move forward.
According to Southern California Public Radio, Garcia says she will address each issue individually when the investigations are closed.
On Wednesday, the San Luis Obispo reported that Democratic Assemblywoman Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) was named as the new interim chair of California’s Legislative Women’s Caucus after Garcia was asked to take a leave of absence in light of new sexual misconduct allegations against her.
The group, which is composed solely of female lawmakers, reportedly focuses on passing policies benefiting women and families.