Jack Latvala to resign after an explosive report released Tuesday found that he likely groped an aide and may have committed criminal offenses by seeking sexual favors from a lobbyist in return for his support of legislation.
The former federal judge who conducted the investigation for the Senate recommended Latvala be sanctioned.
In the letter, Latvala says he will resign his seat in the Senate at midnight on January 5, 2018. "My political adversaries have latched onto this effort to rid our country of sexual harassment to try to rid the Florida Senate of me".
In a letter to Senate President Joe Negron, Latvala maintained his innocence against accusations that he sexually harassed a Senate staffer and that he allegedly traded sex for votes according to a newly released Special Master's report on Tuesday.
According to one such incident detailed in the report, Latvala yelled at an aide about the lack of donuts in the Senate until Rachel Perrin Rogers, an aide to the state's Senate majority leader, arrived on the scene and said she would look into "the doughnut situation".
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Latvala has acknowledged making comments intended as compliments that women might find offensive, but he denies in a sworn statement to the retired judge any unwanted or inappropriate touching of women and Rogers specific allegations.
"Ms. [redacted] testified that between 2015 and 2017, Senator Latvala touched and groped her in an unwelcome manner every time she went to his office, and that she believed tolerating such behavior was part of her job as a lobbyist", the report said. The letter, obtained by the Miami Herald, says, "I have had enough".
Gov. Rick Scott on Wednesday called for Sen.
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". "The allegations in this complaint, and the resulting Special Master's Report, describe behavior that violates the public trust".
She said Latvala inappropriately touched her in an elevator, at a private club and other occasions. He said he would not comment further. He made no mention of his candidacy for governor. The identity of that accuser and all of the evidence collected by Swanson should become public including the text messages between Latvala and the former lobbyist.