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As Assemblywoman Prepares Return, Is Trouble Over For Cristina Garcia?

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A California Assemblywoman and a leader in a movement against sexual harassment is planning her return to the state Capitol after a four-month unpaid leave of absence.
On Thursday, the assembly exonerated Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D- Bell Gardens) of harassment allegations.
“We’re all pretty excited to get back to work,” said Communications Director Teala Schaff.
Schaff went on the record for the first time Friday, after her boss, Garcia, was accused of misconduct.
“I came to work for her, for her reputation and rumors will always exist,” she said.
But the lawmaker once at the forefront of the Me Too movement, may not be in the clear yet.
The Assembly investigation says she “used vulgar language, used staff to run personal errands, and disparaged other elected officials.” Her accusers maintain she also acted inappropriately.
“It’s weird though being a man and being in an environment like that,” said David John Kernick.
Kernick is one of four former male staffers who complained about Garcia’s behavior, saying she tried getting him and his colleagues to play spin the bottle at a fundraising event.
“It was more like a flirtation because it was obvious we weren’t gonna play spin the bottle,” he said.
Now he’s appealing the Assembly’s findings, claiming investigators never even questioned him about what happened.
“Someone made an accusation, wouldn’t you want to talk to them? It’s common sense,” he said.
Assembly leaders won’t comment on the investigation. But ruled Garcia will have to take sexual harassment and sensitivity training, regardless. Her supporters welcome the changes.
“To continue to improve upon ourselves… I think that’s a good thing,” said Schaff.
Garcia still denies the harassment claims but apologized if she ever used bad language, saying in a statement, “I learned from this experience and will do everything in my power to make amends for my past.”

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