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Report finds Senator Latvala likely touched woman inappropriately

CLEARWATER, Fla. (WFLA) -- An investigator looking into the allegations against Florida Senator Jack Latvala for inappropriately touching women is recommending that criminal investigators get involved.

A report on the investigation from special master Ronald V. Swanson was released Tuesday, and found probable cause to believe claims that the Clearwater Republican and gubernatorial candidate sexually harassed a former aide.

Swanson, a retired First District Court of Appeal Judge, also recommends a criminal investigation into whether Senator Latvala traded his vote for sexual favors.

"The allegations of quid pro quo conduct...appear to violate ethics rules, and may violate laws prohibiting public corruption," the report states.

Latvala's attorney Steve Andrews denied any quid pro quo arrangement.

According to Swanson, there is probable cause to believe:

  • Latvala engaged in inappropriate and unwanted verbal and non-verbal behavior towards his former aide during the 2013-2014 legislative sessions
  • Latvala had inappropriate physical contact with his former aide in February 2015 at the Governors Club in Tallahassee
  • Latvala had inappropriate and unwanted physical contact with his former aide on four delineated occasions during the 2016 and 2017 legislative sessions
  • Latvala had inappropriate and unwanted physical contact with his former aide in October 2017 on an elevator in the Florida State Capitol Building

Swanson's report says there was no probable cause to believe the claim that his former aide saw Senator Latvala put his hands in a female lobbyist's blouse without permission.

Gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam called on Latvala to resign on Twitter following the release of the report.

Latvala tweeted about the report earlier Tuesday before it was released.

Shortly after the report was released Tuesday night, Senator Latvala's son posted on Twitter:

Last month, POLITICO reported that six women accused Senator Latvala of groping and sexual harassment. Latvala hit back at the report, calling it "fake news."

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