By Jim DeFede

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Just hours after an article identified the woman who accused state Senator Jack Latvala of sexual harassment and physical groping, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran reiterated his call for Latvala to resign saying “the reports are grotesque.”

The woman, Rachel Perrin Rogers, works for the state senate, and confirmed to POLITICO Florida that she was the person who filed the confidential complaint against Latvala. She said she felt the need to go public because she believed Latvala was spreading false information about her and her husband, Brian Hughes, a Republican lobbyist in Tallahassee.

“My motivation for filing the complaint was to stop Mr. Latvala’s illegal and unethical actions, against myself and against other women who work in Florida’s Capitol,” Perrin Rogers said in her statement to POLITICO. “Latvala has lied about what he did to me, and is now lying about my husband.”

“Let’s set the record straight: My husband does not control me or my career; and he has no affiliation with any gubernatorial campaign,” she continued. “These lies are being told in an attempt to intimidate me.”

Latvala has suggested the complaint against him was politically motivated by a Republican opponent in the upcoming Governor’s race.

In an interview with CBS4 News, one of those potential political opponents, House Speaker Corcoran, reacted strongly to the rumors he was behind the complaint. He also denied Hughes was helping with his possible run for Governor.

CBS4’s Jim DeFede asked Corcoran if he has any relationship with Perrin Rogers, Hughes, or if he played any role in the complaint against Latvala.

“The answer is none,” Corcoran said. “But I want to address that point. The answer is zero, none, never hired them, never participated with them, never worked with them, on any level, past, present or future. None. But the question and that argument is so offensive, Jim. It’s so offensive. So you are telling me that had that been true, had I had a relationship with Brian Hughes, a relationship with his wife, somehow, someway in a work capacity, you are telling me that because of that relationship it disqualifies a woman from being sexually harassed and groped. That’s just offensive. I don’t care if it was my sister, my mother, my campaign manager, nobody – nobody – should be subject to sexual harassment and disqualified because of relationships. It’s offensive at the highest level.”

Corcoran said Latvala should resign because “there’s been an admission he kissed a lobbyist.”

That kiss, filmed by a private investigator, was reportedly consensual. Corcoran said whether it was consensual or not wasn’t the issue.

“Whether it’s Harvey Weinstein or anybody else if there is a disparity in power then that leads to a question of – is it or is it not sexual harassment that should be investigated,” he said.

He said while media figures like Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose and Bill O’Reilly have all been forced out and fired amid allegations of harassment, political figures appear to be held to a lower standard.

“Why do we wait so slowly when it comes to political figures,” he said. “There should be greater pressure put upon these people when there is that disparity of power.”


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