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

Posted December 21, 2017

In the letter, Latvala says he will resign his seat in the Senate at midnight on January 5, 2018.

The report also found probable cause that Latvala groped or made sexually suggestive comments to Rachel Perrin Rogers, an aide to Senate Republican Majority Leader Wilton Simpson of Trilby, on four occasions dating back to 2013.

The announcement is a stunning fall for a politician who was at the top of his power several months ago, when he announced a run for governor. There are now two separate Senate reports investigating the sexual misconduct allegations that were made public against Latvala, with the process ultimately leading to fellow senators making a determination about his future in the legislative body. The Senate has appropriately turned those allegations over to law enforcement, and it also should send testimony from women who told a second investigator that Latvala repeatedly attempted intimate physical contact in exchange for help on their legislative issues.

The report brought calls for Latvala's resignation from Gov. Rick Scott and others.

"I have had enough". Resigning is the best thing he can do now for his constituents, colleagues and the state, " said Scott in an emailed statement to WJCT News.

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"Unfortunately, except in one instance where there were third party witnesses, the Special Master took the word of the accuser over mine on every count", Latvala continues, referring to the report released Tuesday.

A Florida Senate investigation into Latvala finds a complaint he inappropriately touched a woman on several occasions is likely true.

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. 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". Latvala did not immediately return a text message seeking comment. Now the Florida Legislature should make the right decision to root out other misconduct and regain some of its credibility and public trust.

Latvala, in his resignation letter, maintained his innocence regarding the allegations.