California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia was cleared of recent allegations that she attempted to grope Daniel Fierro, a former staffer for Democratic Assemblyman Ian Calderon.
As we previously reported, Fierro, along with an unnamed lobbyist, filed a complaint against Garcia for inappropriate behavior. The complaint indicated that Garcia used foul language and suggestive touching before attempting to grope them.
In response, the Assembly Rules Committee retained outside lawyers to investigate Fierro's claim, but they were unable to substantiate his accusations of groping. The full findings will not be released until a 10-day appeal window has passed, and according to the Associated Press, Fierro might appeal it because one of the witnesses that he provided was never questioned.
Although Garcia was cleared of the groping allegations, other reports of misconduct were substantiated, namely her consistent use of vulgar language. Whether her language usage was simply offensive or downright bawdy was not established. However, she did respond in a statement quoted by the Associated Press.
"I would like to sincerely apologize to my colleagues in the Legislature, my staff and most importantly to the residents of the 58th Assembly District for instances where my use of language was less than professional."Other substantiations revealed in a letter from the Assembly Rules Committee to attorney Dan Gilleon include Garcia's use of staffers for personal errands and disparaging other legislators. Gilleon represents some of Garcia's previous staffers and released a copy of the letter to the LA Times.
Assemblywoman Garcia put herself on a leave of absence during the investigation and is now planning to return to work Monday, but may not have much to return to. Despite being cleared of the groping allegations, Garcia is still guilty of reprehensible behavior, which Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon made sure to note when he removed her from several committee positions.
Rendon stated, "...it is clear that Assemblymember Garcia has engaged in a pattern of behavior that must be addressed."
Garcia is the Democratic representative for California's 58th Assembly District. She has served on the Natural Resources, Judiciary, Ethics, Environmental Safety and Toxics, and Utilities and Energy committees. She also served as chair for the Legislative Women's Caucus.
The primaries for Assemblywoman Garcia's seat begin next month. Some have already begun their anti-Garcia campaigns and are planning to stick by them regardless of her clearance.