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Politics

Rick Scott: Sexual Harassment Allegations against Jack Latvala 'Disgusting'

November 6, 2017 - 12:15pm
Rick Scott and Jack Latvala
Rick Scott and Jack Latvala

Sen. Jack Latvala’s house of cards continued to fall Monday as the state's head honcho -- Gov. Rick Scott -- weighed in on allegations Latvala sexually harassed multiple women in Tallahassee. 

Monday marked the first time Scott publicly spoke on the allegations, where six women went on the record claiming Latvala touched them inappropriately and made comments that made them uncomfortable.  

The governor made it evident Latvala’s behavior, if true, was reprehensible.

“That is disgusting,” Scott told reporters in Fort Myers Monday morning. “I’m blessed I have a wife of over 40 years. I have two daughters. When they are in the workplace, I would be horrified if they were treated improperly.”

Scott said there was no place for sexual misconduct and harassment in public office and told reporters anyone who has done “anything wrong...should be out of office.”

The governor’s comments come on the heels of a whirlwind week in Florida politics. Reports of Latvala’s alleged sexual harassment are just the latest chapter in a series of rumors about infidelity and sexual misconduct in the state’s capital city. 

On Friday, Politico Florida published an article detailing allegations from six different women — both Democrats and Republicans — all of whom tell the same story: Latvala touched them inappropriately and made sexual comments which made them feel uncomfortable. 
 
An hour after the story broke, Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said his chamber would launch a full and immediate investigation into the matter, citing a “zero tolerance” policy for sexual harassment. 
 
“These allegations are atrocious and horrendous. As Senate President, my first priority is the safety of our staff and visitors,” Negron said.  
 
By Monday, Latvala had been booted from his powerful position as chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, which handles all budget matters for that chamber. 
 
Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, will replace the Clearwater Republican while the third party investigation is pending. 
 
Negron initially tapped Senate General Counsel Dawn Roberts to handle the investigation, but she recused herself over the weekend due to her personal relationship with Latvala. 

Latvala isn’t the first state lawmaker to come under fire for sexual harassment. Sen. Jeff Clemens officially resigned last week as a result of an extramarital affair with a Tallahassee lobbyist.  
 
In the meantime, Latvala’s gubernatorial bid is still ongoing, but it is uncertain whether he will pull out of the race in light of the complaints against him. He vowed to fight back against the accusations Friday evening, threatening legal action and calling the Politico Florida story "totally fabricated" and a "smear campaign" designed to hurt him.
 

 

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


Comments

this is coming from the same guy who received the largest medicare fraud fine in history at HCA, and had to plead the 5th to avoid criminal prosecution...classic.

First of all, that is a lie, and second of all, you are an idiot!!!

"My chamber will launch a full and immediate investigation into the matter..": ("POLITICAL SPEAK" for): "Circle the wagons Boys, them thar Injuns is commin, but don't you fret none, we be safe in the circle..REMEMBER THE CLINTONS AND ALCEE HASTINGS !!!!...and make every shot count Boys, if you want to survive!!!! (Therein lies the shallow depths of "Political Investigations"!)

We now see that anyone can accuse anyone of anything and allegations can ruin lives. Rick Scott needs to remember these are only allegations. Perhaps, next, someone will come out against him. Then what will he do? The political opponents have found a new way to bring down the opposing candidate. We will see more of this in the future, particularly if it works. How does someone clear their good name? Some feminists are ridiculous and vicious and hate men.

I agree, Lynn, with almost everything you typed. Allegations of sexual misconduct have been around for many, many years, only now, the news media has taken notice, rather than stick their heads into the sand. And, shame on ALL media for being so compliant in these type of cases. More importantly, I give credit to those women who stand up against this behavior and my apologies to ALL women who have been harassed, probably billions. My apologies are for the inexcusable behavior of other MEN, who have committed these types of allegations. I have been fortunate to have a wonderful wife of 41 years (two days ago) and I'm so lucky to have met my wife when I was in grade school and our love only grew from there. Enough of that! IF a guy 'needs' to harass women and look elsewhere, fine. But, if attached to a wife, divorce her, then knock yourself out!(literally) I know there's the often times RARE moments of women harassing men, and the same advice goes to them. I do NOT believe this would become a 'new' political form of attack as I, personally, would find the candidate exposing the behavior just as bad as the one committing it! (what with the candidate's family being exposed publicly). Anyways, that's my longwinded opinion.

Sexual harassment has been around for a long time but there was really no forum to complain. Boys will be boys boys will be boys, get used to it, get a thicker skin, etc. Has been the attitude. It's not that this is new form of political attack. It's an old problem, that it's been around for a long time but practically ignored, not it won't be. I had my first sexual harassment incident at the age of 18 or 19 it happened in my first week of employment. It's not just political, these people just work in profession that is highly visible

This isn't "a new way to bring down the opposing candidate." In fact it fairly easy. I'm not saying these allegations of sexual harassment are untrue at all. Just hope a true, fair and open investigation occurs so the actual evidence can lead the outcome.

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