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California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia to take leave of absence during investigation of misconduct allegations

Melanie Mason, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia on Friday denied accusations of sexual misconduct but said she would voluntarily take unpaid leave while an investigation takes place.

"Upon reflection of the details alleged, I am certain I did not engage in the behavior I am accused of," Garcia (D-Bell Gardens) said in a statement. But she added that "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 she would take an unpaid leave "so as not to serve as a distraction or in any way influence the process of this investigation." She urged the Assembly to conduct a "thorough and expeditious investigation."

The statement comes one day after Politico reported that two men alleged improper sexual advances from Garcia. She has been one of the most vocal legislators speaking out about sexual harassment in the state Capitol.

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