Florida state senator resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations

Florida state senator resigns amid sexual misconduct allegations

A GOP state senator and gubernatorial candidate in Florida resigned Wednesday after an investigation reportedly found credible evidence of sexual misconduct.

Jack Latvala continued to deny any wrongdoing in a letter to state Senate President Joe Negron (R) announcing he would step down Jan. 5, The Associated Press reported.

“I have had enough. If this is the process our Party and Senate leadership desires, than I have no interest in continuing to serve with you," Latvala wrote.

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Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) called on Latvala to resign earlier in the day, the AP noted.

Several women had accused Latvala of inappropriately touching them or making demeaning comments about their bodies. The women, who declined to be identified, included Senate staff and lobbyists. 

Investigators found additional women who indicated Latvala had a habit of telling dirty jokes and suggesting he would support legislation in exchange for sexual favors.

Latvala was removed in November as budget chairman in the state Senate, but said he believed he would be “fully exonerated.”

Lawmakers in state capitols across the country have been grappling in recent months with a heightened focus on allegations of sexual misconduct.

A number of politicians have announced their resignations or retirements in recent weeks following such allegations, including California state lawmakers, Sen. Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenWinners and losers from first fundraising quarter Election analyst says Gillibrand doesn't have 'horsepower to go the full distance' Gillibrand campaign links low fundraising to Al Franken backlash: memo MORE (D-Minn.), Rep. John ConyersJohn James ConyersMembers spar over sexual harassment training deadline Reparations bill wins new momentum in Congress Overnight Health Care: Pelosi asks how to pay for single-payer | Liberal groups want Dems to go bigger on drug prices | Surprise medical bill legislation could come soon MORE Jr. (D-Mich.), Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksArizona New Members 2019 Cook shifts 8 House races toward Dems Freedom Caucus members see openings in leadership MORE (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Blake FarentholdRandolph (Blake) Blake FarentholdMembers spar over sexual harassment training deadline Female Dems see double standard in Klobuchar accusations Lawmaker seeks to ban ex-members from lobbying until sexual harassment settlements repaid MORE (R-Texas).