Gov. Rick Scott calls on state senator to resign

Via Jack Latvala on Instagram

Via Jack Latvala on Instagram

Latvala, 66, is a 16-year veteran of the Senate and a Republican candidate for governor looking to replace the term-limited Scott next year. Jack Latvala announced Wednesday he is resigning. I have maintained that the charges in the original complaint are fabrications and say that still today. Latvala sexually harassed a Senate aide by making inappropriate comments about her body and groping her on several occasions.

"I have never intentionally dishonored my family, my constituents or the Florida Senate", Latvala wrote in his resignation letter to Senate President Joe Negron.

Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) called on Latvala to resign earlier in the day, the AP noted. "Resigning is the best thing he can do now for his constituents, colleagues and the state", Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement released Wednesday morning.

"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. But Swanson found there is probable cause to believe Latvala inappropriately touched Rogers in a Senate elevator and at the private Governors Club.

"I have had enough".

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The investigation began after a complaint filed by Rachel Perrin Rogers, a top aide to Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson. While Latvala could have proceeded to a hearing before the Senate Rules Committee, the totality of the report and the explosive allegations by the former lobbyist that he sought sex in return for legislative action make it clear he could not remain in office.

She testified Latvala "placed his hands up her dress, touched the outside of her underwear at her vaginal area, her buttocks, and her breast".

An investigation by retired State Appeals Court Judge Ronald V. Swanson determined "probable cause" to further investigate the accusations by six women, including physical contact or sexual intimacy "in exchange for support of legislative initiatives".

"I felt it was something he felt entitled to", she noted, while supplying text messages from Latvala along with her testimony. He made no mention of his candidacy for governor.

Negron released a statement saying Negron made the "right decision".

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