BELL GARDENS (CBSLA) — An embattled state legislator who was once a principal voice in the #MeToo movement has been partly vindicated following an investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct.
Democratic Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, who represents the area of Bell Gardens and environs, was cleared Thursday of groping allegations brought forth by a former legislative staffer, City News Service reported.
Though investigators found the accusation of groping to be ‘not substantiated,’ they said Garcia had violated the legislative body’s policy by “using vulgar language.”
“Earlier today I learned that the allegations of unwanted sexual harassment against me were found to be unsubstantiated,” Garcia said Thursday. “I look forward to returning to work and getting back to the business of representing my constituents.”
Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon said Garcia “engaged in a pattern of behavior that must be addressed.” He said he would be removing Garcia from all committees and require she attend sensitivity training.
Back in February, former Capitol staffer Daniel Fierro accused Garcia of grabbing his buttocks and attempting to grab his crotch at a legislative softball game in 2014. Garcia went on voluntary, unpaid leave after that allegation was made.
Shortly thereafter, Garcia’s former field representative filed a complaint with the state alleging she made staffers play spin the bottle at a 2014 party. Claimant David Kernick was one of four former staffers who earlier had accused Garcia of drinking at work and openly talking about her sex life. He said he was fired after he complained to the assemblywoman.
In an interview with CBS News, Garcia denied allegations she made remarks about about having sex with other elected officials, sometimes for information.
A spokesman for Garcia said she plans to return to work Monday, the Associated Press reported.
Garcia represents California’s 58th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Bell Gardens, Artesia, Downey and Pico Rivera, among others.