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Embattled Clearwater Sen. Jack Latvala resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations

Embattled Clearwater Sen. Jack Latvala resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations

Jack Latvala, a powerful member of the Florida Senate and Republican candidate for governor, resigned Wednesday after two reports said he sexually harassed and made demeaning and vulgar comments to female staffers and lobbyists.

"Our country has been caught up in a movement to shine a spotlight on behavior that dishonors women", he wrote in a letter to Senate President Joe Negron, obtained by our news partners at the Tampa Bay Times.

"I have never intentionally dishonored my family, my constituents, or the Florida Senate", Latvala wrote in the letter. "My political adversaries have latched onto this effort to rid our country of sexual harassment to try to rid the Florida Senate of me". Jack Latvala may have reached the level of sexual assault, a retired judge concluded in a Special Master's report delivered to the legislature on Tuesday, the Miami Herald reports.

Latvala has maintained that the charges against him are fabrications. The report will now be taken up by the Senate Rules Committee on January 11.

The investigations were triggered by a Politico report in November detailing allegations by six anonymous women of sexual misconduct and harassment by Latvala.

Swanson recommended that the allegations may have violated ethics rules and laws against public corruption, and recommended referring the matter to law enforcement.

She testified Latvala "expressly intimated to her on multiple occasions, that if she engaged in sexual acts or allowed him to touch her body in a sexual manner he would support particular legislative items for which she was lobbying".

A weeks-long investigation by a Special Master found probably cause that Latvala participated in improper and unwanted verbal and physical contact with a Senate staffer.

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

"I felt it was something he felt entitled to", she noted, while supplying text messages from Latvala along with her testimony.

"I am appalled by the findings of the special master report", Bondi said.

The investigation began after a complaint filed by Rachel Perrin Rogers, a top aide to Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson. But Wednesday's statement was the first time he explicitly called for Latvala's resignation.


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