The investigation into an alleged groping of a legislative staffer by Assemblywoman Christine Garcia is being re-opened after the staffer appealed an earlier decision that did not back up his claim.
Daniel Fierro alleged that Garcia drunkenly groped him at an Assembly softball game in Sacramento in 2014. But, the Assembly Rules Committee said his claim "could not be substantiated," and closed the investigation on May 17. Garcia was also removed from committee assignments for using "vulgar language."
Two weeks later, Fierro appealed the finding, saying key witnesses weren't interviewed.
Garcia's office confirmed on Wednesday that she had learned of the new investigation, and in a statement quoted by the Daily Press, seemed irked that the media knew about it before she did.
"After a four-month process, the original ruling by the independent investigator found that the claims against me were unsubstantiated, which was accurate," Garcia said in a statement quoted by the Daily News. "I have constantly asked that the independent investigatory process remain independent from politicization. In that regard, it is unacceptable that the letter updating parties was leaked to the news media before it was received by my legal counsel."
The Bell Gardens assemblywoman had been considered a leader of the #MeToo movement in California government. She took a voluntary leave of absence from February to May during the Assembly Rules Committee's original investigation.
Garcia is currently running for re-election representing the 58th Assembly District. She is set to face Republican Mike Simpfenderfer who was the only Republican among eight candidates in a heavily Democratic district.
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