Florida Democratic Party: Jack Latvala 'must resign'  - Florida Politics

Florida Democratic Party: Jack Latvala ‘must resign’ 

The Florida Democratic Party now says Sen. Jack Latvala “must resign” in light of “the numerous allegations of sexual harassment against” him.

Latvala

The party released a statement Tuesday through its spokeswoman, Johanna Cervone. It follows calls from fellow GOP senators also calling for him to, or suggesting that he, step down from office.

“Latvala’s behavior is unacceptable and there is no place for it in our government or our state,” Cervone said. “Using a position of power to harass, touch, demean and pressure women—or anyone else—is wrong, plain and simple.

“Now, Latvala’s smear campaign against (Senate aide) Rachel Perrin Rogers has resulted in her needing armed security. He must resign.”

Hours later, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum released his own statement calling on the powerful senator to resign.

“His intimidation of a sexual harassment victim is repulsive and disgusting, as is his alleged behavior,” Gillum said.

“I believe these women, and we need Florida’s Capitol to be a welcoming place for all people — not a place where sexual harassment victims need police protection.”

Latvala responded to those calls on social media, reasserting his innocence and saying he will “keep fighting.”

POLITICO Florida reported on Nov. 3 that six women—Perrin Rogers says one of them is her—accused Latvala of sexually harassing and groping them. The others remain anonymous.

Perrin Rogers, 35, is a top aide to state Sen. Wilton Simpson, a Trilby Republican who is expected to become Senate President for 2020-22, assuming the GOP maintains its majority.

She filed a grievance with the Senate Rules Committee in early November, and two Senate investigations now are pending into Latvala’s alleged misconduct. They include claims of sexual assault and sexual and verbal harassment.

Perrin Rogers said there were unwelcome sexual comments about her clothes, breasts and legs. She says the 66-year-old Latvala accosted her in a state Capitol elevator, brushing her breast and trying to touch her groin.

Meantime, Perrin Rogers requested a security guard while in the Capitol out of concern for her safety.

“Instead of taking steps to discourage this behavior, (Senate President) Joe Negron‘s mishandling of the complaint filed against Latvala has resulted in an environment where women continue to feel unsafe and afraid to come forward,” Cervone added.

“Anyone who is guilty of using their power to harass or compromise women should resign immediately.”

Hutson

Sen. Travis Hutson, a St. Augustine Republican who chairs the Regulated Industries Committee, also is calling for Latvala to quit the Senate “so that we do not have to deal with this problem anymore,” he told POLITICO Florida.

In that same story, Sen. Debbie Mayfield, a Rockledge Republican, said “it might be better for him, and his family and the Senate if he considered stepping down.”

And Sen. Jose Javier Rodriguez, a Miami Democrat, said Monday that “serious rules” are needed to make sure powerful senators like Latvala stop making a “mockery of serious allegations.”

“Without independent investigation or serious rules, persons in power will game the system, intimidate victims and make a mockery of serious allegations, exactly as Senator Latvala is doing,” Rodriguez said in a statement.

Jim Rosica covers state government from Tallahassee for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

2 Comments

  1. Accusations could be true, but I know the R party and if you are not their “chosen”candidate, if they cannot rely on you to “be with them on all issues 100%”, if you are not willing to sell them your soul, then they do all they can to smear you, slander you, lie intentionally about you with malice, so they can get rid of you. I have no doubt Latvala is not their chosen boy. I also have no doubt that the R party leaders will do whatever it takes to get rid of him. Vote for the guy they don’t want, and you may be far better off.

  2. I was stunned to find some of those in the press seem to have picked sides as well.
    After reading that Rachel Perrin Rogers was in the throws of a custody battle when she took a leave of absence in the TBT and stated family reasons on the documentation, I wrote to two editors from local news organizations asking for them to expand on this new bit of information I had not heard until it was reported. I wanted to know since it is now public knowledge and DOES matter within the time frame in question…I heard nothing. Just one response asking me where I had heard the information. There were no new reports clarifying this information, instead there are now cries for Senator Latvala to resign. So, I did a bit of research myself and found more than I was even looking for in the first place. Not only was there a custody battle, I am now wondering about the documentation about her “mental state” due to family matters or the email from Nov. 24th. What if Senator Latvala was consoling her the day she ran out crying because of her family reasons? This sure makes sense and is corroborated with legal documentation.
    I would like the press to address this. I think we deserve ALL of the facts. Some may see this as a witch hunt while others see this as a right to defend your legacy. If you ask me…Senator Latvala is the one that has endured a smear campaign. This Senator has served my district and our state for decades. I am appalled at the way the party is treating him. Sad.

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