Gov. Rick Scott addressed the sexual allegations against Sen. Jack Latvala for the first time on Monday and said they were “disgusting” and that if anybody engages in such behavior they should “get out of office.”
“I can’t imagine this, I can’t believe (this),” Scott told reporters in Fort Myers. “Hopefully this is not happening. I expect that everyone is being treated with respect and that no one is mistreated.”
The sexual harassment claims against Latvala were first reported on Friday by POLITICO Florida. By Monday morning, Latvala had lost his seat as Senate budget chief.
The allegations have been condemned by members in both the House and Senate in both parties, and Senate President Joe Negron is looking for an independent party to investigate the claims made by the six unnamed women. Negron said the allegations that Latvala harassed and groped the women were “atrocious and horrendous.”
“We all need to understand the facts,” Scott said. “We need to know exactly what happened. If anybody has done anything wrong, we need to hold them accountable.”
Latvala has denied the accusers’ accounts and has threatened to sue POLITICO Florida for publishing the report. Following the report, at least five women, who have worked with Latvala closely over the years, have come to his defense in what some say appears to be a coordinated campaign to clear his name.