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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Sen. race sex files: cubancigar's callipygian company



The race for Senate District 38 is two years off, and already we have two sex-related Internet issues involving two separate candidates. Last month, former Miami Beach Republican Rep. Gus Barreiro was fired by the Department of Juvenile Justice for allegedly logging into as "cubancigar107" to meet couples for trysts via his state computer. He says he was set up and that he had no idea where the pornographic images on his desk-top came from.

The latest revelation concerns Miami Republican Rep. Julio Robaina, and involves a four-year-old previously unreported incident that political opponents are pushing now. Robaina had used his House computer and lawmaker account to forward a chain email titled "Hypnotize a man" that contained a link to an interactive webclip of a callipygian woman (i.e. one who had shapely buttocks). The email advised: "Click on the picture, and drag it a little up and then drop it and watch..."

One of the recipients was Rep. David Rivera's aide, Maria Armenteros. She forwarded it to her home email account. Uh oh.

Her husband, Omar Armenteros, saw it and grew furious. Unknown to the media at the time, Mr. Armenteros went on a two-year letter-writing crusade to Gov. Jeb Bush and, then, Gov. Charlie Crist. Robaina was reprimanded, according to a 2006 letter from then House Speaker Alan Bense, who said last week that he didn't remember the incident. "I was dealing with Ralph Arza at the time," he said.

But Mr. Armenteros, who declined to comment to the Herald/Times, felt Robaina wasn't sufficiently punished. He compared the incident to the Rep. Mark Foley page scandal. Rivera accused Robaina of forwarding "pornography" that was inappropriate for a lawmaker.

Robaina, a rival of Rivera's, said that's an exaggeration. But he said he regretted what happened.

"This was nothing more than the case of legislators offices forwarding what they called comical inter-office humor. Mrs. Armenteros, Rep. Rivera’s aide, was also forwarding these comical emails. Her husband was offended by one of the jokes during a time, and this was according to Mrs. Armenteros, they were having some marital problems. He complained to Mrs. Armenteros. I personally contacted him and apologized on behalf of my office. And shortly after, the House put out an email basically stating do not forward any interoffice emails to anybody that might be offensive. End of story."

Perhaps not. The 2010 election season is already here. But how opponents use the info against him might be tricky. Joked one veteran Miami-Dade political consultant: "In Little Havana, that'll probably get Robaina some votes."

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-- Marc Caputo

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 7:30pm]


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