NORWALK – Cristina Garcia, Norwalk’s representative in the California Assembly, has taken an unpaid leave of absence after allegations of sexual misconduct emerged last week.
Daniel Fierro, who worked for Democratic Assemblyman Ian Calderon, said Garcia stroked his back, squeezed his backside and tried to grab his crotch following a softball game in 2014.
Garcia has denied the charges.
According to Politico, Fierro did not report the incident until January, when he reported it to Calderon, who in turn reported it to State Assembly leaders, launching an investigation.
“Upon reflection of the details alleged, I am certain I did not engage in the behavior I am accused of. However, as I’ve said before, any claims about sexual harassment must be taken seriously, and I believe elected officials should be held to a higher standard of accountability,” Garcia said in a statement.
“Therefore, I am voluntarily taking an immediate unpaid leave from my position in the State Assembly, including any accompanying committee assignments, so as not to serve as a distraction or in any way influence the process of this investigation.”
Garcia has been a prominent supporter of the #MeToo movement and was even featured on the cover of TIME magazine for her efforts to change California’s definition of rape.
She also spoke out publicly against state Sen. Tony Mendoza, who is under investigation for sexual harassment.
With Garcia and Mendoza both on leave, Norwalk currently has zero representation in Sacramento.