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Code of silence is breaking on Tallahassee’s sex secrets

By Mary Ellen Klas
By Steve Bousquet
SCOTT KEELER | Times Florida Capitol looking east, Tallahassee. FOR FILE.

For decades, sex has been a tool and a toy for the politically powerful in the male-dominated world of politics in Florida’s capital. Now it’s a weapon.

Allegations of sexual assault, harassment and infidelity among the state’s legislators flew like shrapnel from a bomb blast in recent weeks, destroying much of the trust left in a Republican-controlled Legislature and replacing it with suspicion and finger pointing.

The latest target, Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala, has been accused by six unnamed women of inappropriate touching and verbal harassment. Shortly after Politico Florida first reported the allegations on Friday, Senate President Joe Negron called them "atrocious and horrendous" and ordered an investigation.

Latvala, a Clearwater Republican and candidate for governor, denied the allegations, said he welcomed the investigation, and vowed a fight to "clear my name."

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