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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 or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.

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