The Florida Department of Law Enforcement said Friday it’s now conducting an “active” criminal investigation into former Sen. Jack Latvala‘s sexual misconduct.
“Regarding Senator Latvala, FDLE’s Office of Executive Investigations is now conducting an active investigation,” the state agency’s spokeswoman Jessica Cary said.
Cary said she could not provide additional details on the investigation.
The case was referred to FDLE last December after two separate Senate investigations found probable cause that the once powerful Republican may have traded support for legislation for a sexual encounter with a lobbyist. Since then, FDLE officials said they were “conducting a review” of documents provided by the Senate. The review included “preliminary steps like interviews and research.”
The sexual harassment allegations against the former Senate budget chair and Republican gubernatorial candidate rattled Florida politics and came amid other sex scandals engulfing the state Senate, including the resignation of former Sen. Jeff Clemens who admitted to an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.
Latvala’s case was sparked by a POLITICO Florida report detailing the sexual harassment and assault allegations by six unnamed women. After the news report, the Senate launched an investigation into the claims and a second investigation was opened by the upper chamber when Rachel Perrin Rogers, an aide to future Senate president Wilton Simpson filed a complaint with the Senate Rules.
The special master investigation into Perrin Rogers’ claims found there was probable cause he harassed her and other women in his orbit. He recommended Latvala’s sexual misconduct case be referred for criminal investigation, adding he may have traded votes for sex. His behavior, the report said, appeared “to violate ethics rules, and may violate laws prohibiting public corruption.”
Latvala told the Associated Press on Friday that his case is now “up to trained law enforcement personnel to actually look and see if they can find any evidence.”
“They will give the opportunity to be heard and get the facts,” he said.
His attorney, Steve Andrews, declined to comment.
Latvala officially resigned early in January, right before Session started.