Update, 11:30 a.m. Friday:
Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia took a voluntary unpaid leave of absence Friday, a day after sexual misconduct allegations against her became public.
Garcia, a Democrat and chair of the Legislative Women's Caucus, is accused of groping former legislative staff member Daniel Fierro in 2014, an allegation she denies. He reported the claim in January and it is now under formal investigation. Garcia said she's taking leave to avoid distractions and any appearance of influence over the investigation.
"Upon reflection of the details alleged, I am certain I did not engage in the behavior I am accused of," Garcia said in a statement. "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."
The head of the California Legislative Women’s Caucus -- and an outspoken supporter of the #MeToo and #WeSaid Enough movements -- is facing accusations of sexual harassment.