Pam Bondi weighs in on Latvala accuser: ‘My heart breaks for her’

In a release, the Florida attorney general said "FLORIDA MUST BE A LEADER IN" protecting women from workplace harassment.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. (JAY CONNER)
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. (JAY CONNER)
Published Dec. 1, 2017|Updated Dec. 1, 2017

Without naming names, Attorney General Pam Bondi seemed to offer her support to one of Sen. Jack Latvala's accusers Friday.

"Yesterday, I was astonished to learn that one of the victims of the recent allegations in Tallahassee is a woman who I've known and respected for years," Bondi said in a statement. "My heart breaks for her. We must respect the investigation by the Florida Senate and the privacy of all parties involved."

Details of sexual harassment allegations against Latvala made by Rachel Perrin Rogers, the a top aide to Senate Republican Leader Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, went public Thursday. Rogers accused Latvala of rubbing her leg at a bar in 2015, of assaulting her in an elevator and of unwanted sexual comments and hugs.

Latvala has denied the charges, pointing to text messages between Rogers and himself that he says show no evidence of impropriety.

Rogers' lawyer, Tiffany Cruz,  told the Times/Herald, "I didn't see any text messages that say you have permission to grab my body."

In her statement, Bondi encouraged other victims of sexual harassment to come forward. She also pushed for legislation that would "provide protections to victims of sexual harassment claims."

Bondi is the latest high-profile Florida Republican to weigh in on the allegations against Latvala. Gov. Rick Scott released a statement Thursday that said, "It is obvious that Senator Latvala remaining in the Senate is a distraction. It seems that everyone in Tallahassee is talking about this and not how to make Florida better."