21 December, 2017
That came the day after former Judge Ronald Swanson issued a report that Latvala likely inappropriately touched a top Senate aide and may have broken the law by offering a witness in the case his support for legislation in exchange for sex acts.
"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. The special master's report released Tuesday found probable cause that Latvala sexually harassed a Senate aide by making inappropriate comments about her body and groping her on several occasions.
Hours earlier, Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi said he should resign.
"I have had enough".
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.
The sweep of the 33-page special masters report describes a pattern of verbal or physical harassment by Latvala over a period of years toward Rogers and the unnamed lobbyist. "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.
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Latvala has spent the past several weeks calling the allegations part of a political witch hunt in an attempt to get him to drop out of the state's governor's race (which sounds awfully familiar).
Latvala has said he has been known to tell some women they look "hot" but that he's never touched anyone against their will. But Swanson found there is probable cause to believe Latvala inappropriately touched Rogers in a Senate elevator and at the private Governors Club.
"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. Latvala did not immediately return a text message seeking comment.
Latvala, in his resignation letter, maintained his innocence regarding the allegations.
Negron released a statement saying Negron made the "right decision".