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Politics

Latvala Accuser Goes Public with Sexual Harassment Allegation

November 29, 2017 - 3:30pm
Jack Latvala
Jack Latvala

One of the six women accusing state Sen. Jack Latvala of sexual harassment and groping has gone public. 

Rachel Perrin Rogers, a top Florida Senate staffer, identified herself as one of Latvala’s accusers on Wednesday.

Perrin Rogers works as an aide to future Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, and said Wednesday she decided to out herself as one of the six anonymous women because of media reports and Latvala himself, who Perrin Rogers says is spreading lies about both her and her husband, political consultant Brian Hughes. 

Perrin Rogers told POLITICO Florida her confidentiality had been breached after Latvala repeatedly made allusions to her identity in interviews with the press. 

She said she had been groped by Latvala on two occasions: one where he touched her breast in an elevator and another when he rubbed her legs at the Governor’s Club in Tallahassee.

Latvala seemed to imply Perrin Rogers’ accusations spurred from political motivations tied to the Clearwater Republican’s gubernatorial bid. 

“Coincidentally, of all the female Senate employees, this one happens to be the wife of a political consultant working for one of the other governor’s campaigns,” Latvala told Bay News 9 earlier this month. “That’s just a big coincidence I’m sure.”

Latvala is correct that Perrin Rogers’ husband, Hughes, is a political consultant and has worked with Republicans in the past, but he has no ties to any gubernatorial campaigns at the moment. 

Perrin Rogers finally said Wednesday she had enough of the political intimidation.

“I am fearful of the effect that this unethical action will have on other victims who desperately want to overcome their fear and speak out,” she said.

Shortly after the POLITICO Florida story dropped, Latvala and his supporters launched a counteroffensive against the allegations, trashing the complaints against the former Senate Budget Chief since they were anonymous.

Latvala’s son, state Rep. Chris Latvala, R-Clearwater, and Rep. Kathleen Peters, R-Treasure Island, were both criticized by Perrin Rogers’ attorney, Tiffany Cruz, for “condemning” Latvala’s accusers on social media.

“Rather than encouraging individuals who are victims of sexual harassment to come forward, anonymously or otherwise, they have taken to every avenue of social media to condemn victims,” Cruz wrote to House Speaker Richard Corcoran earlier this month. 

Chris Latvala routinely searches for criticisms against his father, questioning why the accusers were anonymous. 

“In America you have the right to face your accuser,” the younger Latvala wrote to Sunshine State News’ Allison Nielsen. “Anonymous accusations don't provide a name, face, date etc.”

Brian Hughes denied political motivation for his wife coming forward against Sen. Latvala. 

“Any attempt by Latvala to cast this as politically motivated by me or anyone are untrue and a weak attempt to avoid taking responsibility for his unlawful and despicable behavior,” Hughes said in a statement to POLITICO. “I have never worked against Latvala in any campaigns past or present. In fact, on a few occasions Latvala and his political allies have solicited my professional help for campaigns. Evidence of those solicitations is being provided to the Special Master.”

Hughes has previously consulted for Sen. Lizbeth Benacquisto, a Fort Myers Republican who currently serves as Rules chairwoman, the committee investigating the claims against Latvala.

Senate President Joe Negron's spokeswoman Katie Betta said Negron would not be commenting on any potential conflicts of interest at the present time.

"President Negron cannot comment on any matter related to either the complaint filed with the Committee on Rules or the independent third party investigation being conducted by Ms. Holtzman," Betta told Sunshine State News Wednesday.

With Perrin Rogers’ identity now public, the clock could be ticking for Latvala. Perrin Rogers isn’t just any staff member -- she’s a top aide, and is well-liked in Tallahassee and in the Capitol on both sides of the aisle.

In order to expel Latvala, the Senate chamber would need two-thirds of Latvala’s colleagues -- 26 senators -- to oust him from his position. 

Latvala has previously dipped his hand in other scandals rocking the Capitol over the last few weeks. 

Former state Sen. Jeff Clemens resigned in October after an extramarital affair with a Tallahassee lobbyist. Latvala is said to have helped Clemens, his friend, “handle” the situation before it was leaked to the press at the end of October.

 

This is a breaking story. Check back for updates.

 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen

 

READ MORE FROM SUNSHINE STATE NEWS
 

Comments

Rodent is too kind a word for this corpulent thug who knew where our State's money coffers were and raided them for years with his intimidating bully tactics and the help of a few tight lobbyist pals who together splurged on the decadent lifestyle their taxpayer riches brought them. This despicable trio (his gray-bearded Casanova friend who lit up the trailer parks of our state with disappearing million dollar anchors, and their lesbian bulldog lobbyist who remains hellbent in backing Latvala lest her own phony house of cards fall) walked this town like they owned it - power in one hand, greed in the other. But riches can't buy virility or happiness, and that nagging impotence from which they could not escape has become their death knell. It is incredibly delightful to watch this cesspool finally get swallowed up in their own lies, greed and filth. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Godspeed to their many victims.

Oooo, this is definitely material for the the coming expose' book...(Who's gonna write it?!?)

For Latvala, his actions are about both sex and power, especially the latter. I worked the legislative process for nearly 15 years, and witnessed Latvala in action. He is, by far, the worst bully I have ever encountered... a vile, ruthless animal who takes pleasure in destroying people's lives. The way Latvala treats women is absolutely sick and disgusting, and he should pay the ultimate price for his actions. However, he treats all people in a similar manner. He is an overly aggressive, overly obnoxious, power-hungry bully. As a result, he's made lots and lots of enemies over the years, and the knives are out. If Latvala had any dignity, any sense of pride, any concern for the Senate or his son's future, he would step aside. He should resign from the Senate immediately, and allow someone of better character to represent the citizens of Florida Senate District 16. Nonetheless, I am having the time of my life watching his name, and his life, being destroyed. I trust I'm not the only one (:

THIS is good expose' book material too !

As "Groucho" used to say: "Say the secret word, and the duck comes down and pays you a "ten grand" settlement !" (Or something like that...) . Latvala may well be a predator,..but the "lottery contestants" are coming out of the woodwork "faster than water through a sieve"

I hope this gives the many more women the courage to come forward. He has groped and abused women for years and literally everybody who has been around him knows it.

It appears even "Casanova" had nothing on Latvala... (Can't wait for the book to come out ! )

I'm still leery of allegations that cannot be substantiated, especially in politics. There may be some obscure tie in to it all. At the end of the day, there should be evidence to support any allegations, otherwise they are still just allegations. The fact that there are 6 accusers makes it all a little too prevalent to be politically motivated...

In MY opinion, Mr. Latvala is nothing more than a rodent who should be ousted from public office and his character seems to have rubbed off on his 'son', current state rep. Chris Latvala, who also should be released of his state duties!

The Extramarital Affair which Jeff Clemens had was at least consensual.

LoL! You are so right! Can't help but wonder if the so-called Florida State Police will be investigating, and then charging any of this guilty politicians?

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