6 women accuse Florida State Sen. Jack Latvala of sexual harassment, groping

(Courtesy: WFLA)

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) – Six women working in the Florida Capitol have accused State Sen. Jack Latvala (R-Clearwater) of sexual harassment and groping, Politico reports.

The women, who refused to be identified in fear of losing their jobs, said they felt “degraded and demeaned” when Latvala “touched their buttocks or other private areas of their bodies,” or made comments about their weight and breast size.

One woman said Latvala would grunt in her ear while giving her “lengthy” and “painful” hugs, the report said.

The women said they chose to come forward following Latvala’s remarks on sexual harassment. He said he’s never been accused of sexual misconduct.

When asked about the allegations, Latvala reiterated he’s never had a complaint filed against him.

“The Senate provided you with a letter that I have never had a complaint filed against me in 16 years,” said Latvala. “I’m sure that you have handpicked people and you are going to let anonymous people have this kind of impact on the career of a guy who has been there for 16 years.”

“Govern yourself accordingly,” he told a POLITICO Florida reporter.

Democratic Ranking Member on the Appropriations Committee Representative Jared Moskowitz (D-Coral Springs) issues the following statement:

Today’s allegations reported against Senator Jack Latvala are appalling and disgusting. There is no explanation or rationalization which could ever account for this type of behavior and there should be no room for it in our Legislature or in society as a whole. I call on President Joe Negron to immediately remove Senator Latvala from his role as Appropriations Chair. Additionally, I call on Speaker Richard Corcoran to tell the Senate that the House will refuse to go into budget conference with Senator Latvala in that position.