Rick Scott calls on Jack Latvala to resign from Florida Senate

Powerful Florida Republican, state senator and gubernatorial candidate Jack Latvala resigned Wednesday after two reports alleging he sexually harassed and made demeaning comments to female members of his staff and lobbyists.

In the letter, Latvala says he will resign his seat in the Senate at midnight on January 5, 2018. "He also went outside the realm of the original complaint and unknown to me introduced an entirely new issue into the process that I had no ability to challenge or rebut".

Retired judge Ronald V. Swanson, who conducted that investigation, determined Latvala should not only be sanctioned for making repeated inappropriate physical contact with a legislative aide, but also be investigated by law enforcement for allegedly exchanging legislative support on certain initiatives for sexual favors, which is a violation of ethics rules and laws against public corruption.

"Now that the special master report is complete and probable cause has been found, it is time for Senator Latvala to resign", Gov. Scott said. But, I have had enough. "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.

The investigation began after a complaint filed by Rachel Perrin Rogers, a top aide to Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson. She said he "intimated to her on multiple occasions, that if she engaged in sexual acts or allowed him to touch her body in a sexual manner he would support legislative items for which she was lobbying", Swanson wrote.

"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, in his resignation letter, maintained his innocence regarding the allegations.

"I felt it was something he felt entitled to", she noted, while supplying text messages from Latvala along with her testimony. Its no coincidence that Corcoran gleefully seized upon the first published report of anonymous allegations of sexual harassment against his most formidable adversary in the Legislature and demanded Latvalas resignation before any investigation took place.