Latvala resigns after report finds probable cause, recommends criminal investigation

Sen. Jack Latvala made the correct decision to resign Wednesday from the Florida Senate following a special investigators conclusion that there is reason to believe he verbally and physically harassed a Senate staffer and a former lobbyist.

Latvala, a Clearwater Republican, sent a letter to Senate President Joe Negron continuing to deny any wrongdoing and condemning the investigations into his conduct. Jack Latvala has resigned from the Florida Senate. "My political adversaries have latched onto this effort to rid our country of sexual harassment to try to rid the Florida Senate of me".

Special Master Ronald Swanson, a retired judge, released the report with recommendations Tuesday.

In his letter of resignation, Latvala maintains his innocence saying, "the charges in the original complaint are fabrications". She said Latvala inappropriately touched her in an elevator, at a private club and other occasions.

Several women had accused Latvala of inappropriately touching them or making demeaning comments about their bodies.

However, an independent report by a retired Circuit Court judge has found probable cause to begin a criminal probe into the accusations against Latvala, a move that will surely end his bid for the state's highest office.

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"I have had enough".

"Further, given the seriousness of the allegations and the findings in the reports, I have directed my campaign and political committee to make a sponsorship donation in the amount of $50,000 from Saving Florida's Heartland, as well as $12,000 from my Agriculture Commissioner campaign account to the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence", she stated.

In August, Latvala announced his intent to run for Governor in 2018, but as the allegations have come out has been more focused on simply keeping his seat in the Senate. 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.

"Our country has been caught up in a movement to shine a spotlight on behavior that dishonors women", Latvala's resignation letter says.

Scott had previously called the allegations of Rogers, whose complaint triggered Swanson's investigation and report, were "disgusting" and Latvala should step down if they were true.

  • Adam Floyd