According to a POLITICO report, six women who work in Florida's Capitol say state Senator Jack Latvala has "inappropriately touched them without consent or uttered demeaning remarks about their bodies."
The report says the women included Senate staff and lobbyists affiliated with both major parties, and that the women did not want to be identified for fear of losing their jobs, getting a bad reputation, or getting on his bad side and hurting their clients.
Latvala released the following statement on the accusations:
“It’s hard to confront anonymous accusers, and even more difficult when the news is manufactured by a fake news entity like Politico who gave me less than a half hour to respond to this smear campaign.
I unequivocally deny the allegations that have been made against me. And I find it interesting that these anonymous complaints have only come forward after I began my campaign for governor.
I am in consultation with my attorney and will take all legal actions necessary to clear my name. I also welcome a complete review of these allegations by the Senate. If my political opponents want a fight, then it’s a fight they will get.”
The incidents reportedly happened in the privacy of Latvala's office or in public places like the Capitol rotunda, a bar or elevator.
Latvala reportedly told POLITICO he has never had a complaint filed against him in 16 years.
The report said the women felt "degraded and demeaned when he touched their buttocks or other private areas, or when he commented on their weight and breast size."
Latvala is currently a Republican candidate for the 2018 Florida Governor race.