Florida state senator removed as budget chair after sexual harassment allegations

Florida state senator removed as budget chair after sexual harassment allegations

Jack Latvala, a GOP Florida state senator and gubernatorial candidate, is being removed as budget chairman after sexual harassment allegations against him.

“While the independent, third party investigation regarding Senator Latvala is pending, I believe it is in the best interest of the Senate for another Senator to temporarily serve as Chair of the Senate Committee on Appropriations,” Senate President Joe Negron wrote in a statement, as reported by The Sun Sentinel.

The removal comes after a report last week that six women accused Latvala of touching them inappropriately or making demeaning comments about their bodies.

ADVERTISEMENT

Politico reported that the women, who declined to be identified, included Senate staff and lobbyists.

Latvala, who is also a Republican gubernatorial candidate, asked in a letter to the Senate President that he be permitted to "temporarily take a leave of absence" from his role as chairman of the Committee on Appropriations. 

“I understand that you are in the process of hiring an independent, third party to conduct an investigation regarding the anonymous allegations made against me in a recent news article,” Latvala wrote in the letter.

"I look forward to defending myself against these untruthful allegations and believe I will be fully exonerated.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has called the reports "disgusting."

"There’s an independent investigation and we need to follow that and find out the real facts of what actually happened," he said, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

“If anybody has done anything wrong, they need to be out of office. There should be no corruption in politics. We should expect all of our elected officials to be of the highest standards in our society,” Scott said.