Investigation Concludes Florida Sen. Jack Latvala's Conduct May Be Criminal

Investigation Concludes Florida Sen. Jack Latvala's Conduct May Be Criminal

The 66-year-old Republican senator from Clearwater handed Senate President Joe Negron his letter of resignation today, ending a four decade career. The special master's report released Tuesday found probable cause that Latvala sexually harassed a Senate aide by making inappropriate comments about her body and groping her on several occasions.

In his letter of resignation, Latvala maintains his innocence saying, "the charges in the original complaint are fabrications". He found probable cause to support almost all of the allegations lodged against Latvala by Senate aide Rachel Perrin Rogers, who accused the Clearwater Republican of making inappropriate comments about her body and groping her on several occasions.

The special master's report, delivered to the Senate Rules Committee on Tuesday by retired Judge Ronald V. Swanson, concluded there is probable cause to launch an investigation and hearing by the Senate Rules Committee to determine if Latvalais guilty of violating Senate conduct rules and should be sanctioned or removed from office.

Many called on Latvala to resign, including Governor Rick Scott. The letter, obtained by the Miami Herald, says, "I have had enough".

In a statement released Wednesday morning, Scott called for Latvala's resignation calling it "the best thing he can do for his constituents, colleagues, and the state". Perrin Rogers accused Latvala of inappropriate touching in a Capitol elevator, at a private club and other occasions. One unnamed lobbyist said she was warned by two other lobbyists that Latvala would "be all over her and she should "try not to be alone with him".

Perrin Rogers' attorney said in a press release that the report confirms that Latvala created a hostile work environment for Perrin Rogers, and she criticized him for trying to undermine Perrin Rogers during the investigation.

Latvala's departure comes after two Senate reports investigating misconduct allegations were made public, setting up a review by fellow senators that could have resulted in his expulsion. That included explicit text messages sent to the woman.

It also is clear that Latvalas resignation and Swansons report should not be the final word on his actions or the toxic atmosphere in the Florida Legislature.

"Senator Latvala made the right decision".

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