A California state lawmaker at the forefront of the #MeToo movement faces a growing number ofherself. Four former employees filed a formal complaint against Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia. Another says he was fired after protesting when she suggested playing "spin the bottle."
Garcia has authored numerous bills about sexual assault and consent. She was even recently featured in Time magazine's "Persons of the Year" issue recognizing the #MeToo movement's "silence breakers." But now she is on voluntary leave, as investigators look into claims she groped two men.
Daniel Fierro was working in the California State Capitol when he said Garcia cornered him at a staff softball game.
"I remember feeling a little confused about what happened," Fierro said.
"She touched you sexually?" Villarreal asked.
"Yea, she -- her hand dropped down. She touched – she grabbed my butt. And I spun to turn around … and as I turned, she tried to reach for my crotch and she did," Fierro said.
When Villarreal asked Garcia whether Fierro's claims happened, Garcia said, "No."
"What do you remember happening that day?" Villarreal asked.
"I was at the game at the end of the game… And I left with some staff and with some members, and so I have faith that the investigation will make sure and have the facts around it and clear my name," Garcia said.
A second unnamed accuser also claims Garcia made a graphic sexual proposal before groping him, something she denies.
The four former state employees that have filed the formal complaint allege Garcia talked openly about "sexual activities with other elected officials," claimed to have sex in "assembly offices" and said "having sex… was a good way of getting information."
"That's definitely not anything that happened. Not only did I not have those conversations, but I'm also not engaging in sex for information or for votes," Garcia said.
As a #MeToo activist, she's called on those accused of harassment to resign immediately – but she does not plan to do so herself.
"I don't know if I would go so far as to say that it's hypocritical. What I do know is that it's incredibly questionable," Fierro said.
"I'm going to be respectful of the process. I've been trying really hard to be respectful of people coming forward," Garcia said. "I've never had allegations like this against me."
Garcia has yet to be interviewed by investigators. She's on unpaid leave until the investigation is complete. There's no clear timeline on when that will be.
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