State Sen. Wilton Simpson said Monday that the Florida Senate should have settled a sexual harassment case with his chief legislative aide sooner, rather than dragging it out over a year.
Rachel Perrin Rogers, who accused former Clearwater Sen. Jack Latvala of sexual harassment in 2017, filed her complaint against the Florida Legislature in January 2018. She settled the case last week for $900,000.
Simpson, a Republican from Trilby, said Monday they should have settled earlier out of "respect" for Perrin Rogers and what she went through.
Her accusations that Latvala, a powerful senator overseeing the Senate's appropriations committee, shook up Tallahassee and led to the senator's resignation. Two separate investigations supported her claims and the claims of other women.
Perrin Rogers' complaint against the Senate alleged the body "knew, or should have known, of the unlawful conduct of Senator Latvala and did not take any steps to prevent his abuses and protect its employees."
Under the terms of the settlement, Perrin Rogers resigned Jan. 4 and is not allowed to seek employment in the Senate. The settlement also prevented other senators and staffers from testifying in the case.
Simpson said he was not involved in the settlement.
"Rachel did a great job for District 10 when she served with me," Simpson said. "It’s going to be a loss to the Senate."