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Latvala Resigns After Investigations Into Sexual Harassment, Quid-Pro-Quo Relationships

Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater)
Nick Evans

Senator Jack Latvala is resigning after two separate reports condemned his behavior toward women in the legislative process.

The first report validated allegations of sexual harassment by Senate aide Rachel Perrin Rogers and the second probe finds repeated instances of Latvala’s behavior toward women to be abusive and harassing. Florida Department of Law Enforcement spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger says her department has the capability to investigate.

“We do have a unit called executive investigations and in the past they have investigated government officials and politicians.”

Politico Florida broke the allegations of harassment made by six anonymous women last month.

In his resignation letter posted by the Tampa Bay Times Latvala says, “I have been steadfast in my efforts to promote them professionally, but perhaps I haven’t kept up with political correctness in my comments as well as I should have.” But he maintains his innocence and is critical of the investigations, saying, "the charges in the original complaint are fabrications and say that still today. Unfortunately, except in the one instance where there were third party witnesses, the Special Master took the word of the accuser over mine on every count."

House Speaker Richard Corcoran was the first to call for Latvala to step down. Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi joined that call Wednesday.

In a statement, Senate President Joe Negron said the chamber takes allegations of sexual harassment seriously and that, "Senator Latvala made the right decision. At all times during this investigation the Senate has afforded all parties the full and fair opportunity to be heard. The Florida Senate has zero tolerance for sexual harassment or misconduct of any kind against any employee or visitor. The allegations in this complaint, and the resulting Special Master’s Report, describe behavior that violates the public trust."

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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