SACRAMENTO, California — A day after sexual harassment accusations against LA-area Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia became public, she said Friday morning she is taking a voluntary, unpaid leave of absence while the allegations are investigated.
In a statement, Garcia, a Democrat from Bell Gardens, again denied trying to grope a legislative aide and a lobbyist, the two men whose accusations were first reported Thursday by Politico.
“Upon reflection of the details alleged, I am certain I did not engage in the behavior I am accused of,” Garcia’s statement read. “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.
“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. I implore the Assembly Rules Committee to conduct a thorough and expeditious investigation, and I look forward to getting back to work on behalf of my constituents and for the betterment of California.”
Garcia, who has represented Assembly District 58 since 2013, has been a leading voice in the #MeToo movement in Sacramento and was one of the women who signed an open letter last year decrying sexual harassment of women by powerful men in California government.