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Senate Strikes Settlement in Sexual Harassment Case

January 4th, 2019 by Mike Vasilinda

UPDATE: Monday, January 7, 2019 7:33 AM

Rachel Perrin Rogers, via text, has told us the photo should be credited to her son, not Mary Beth Tyson. Our apologies for any misunderstanding.

 

 

Friday is the last day on the state payroll for the woman who publicly accused a powerful Clearwater State Senator of sexual harassment.

Her resignation and the settlement of a lawsuit is costly for taxpayers.

In an agreement signed December 19th, Rachel Perrin Rogers agreed to drop her lawsuit against the Florida Senate.

In exchange, she gets a one time nine hundred thousand dollar payment.

The settlement was signed one year to the day a special master found former State Senator Jack Latvala had sexually harassed the woman.

He resigned the next day, although it was a charge Latvala vehemently denied.

“The things that were described weren’t done and therefor there was no victim,” Latvala said in December of 2017.

The Senate was in Federal court as recently as November 30th seeking to block Perrin Rogers lawsuit from being heard by the Equal Opportunity Commission.

As part of the settlement, Perrin Rogers resigned from her position in the Senate, effective Friday, saying in part, “I feel an immense sadness at this time.”

Her signature carried the the words ‘Me too’.

According to a statement, Senate President Bill Galvano approved the settlement in an effort to “keep the matter from negatively impacting everyone involved.”

Employment lawyer Richard Johnson says the Senate should have settled long ago, and when it didn’t, it drove up the costs.

“They were increasing the amount of emotional stress that she suffered that they had to compensate,” said Johnson. “I can’t put a number on what the settlement would have been if they had done it a year ago, but it would have been a hell of a lot less.”

Perrin Rogers declined an interview.

Before the scandal, Latvala was in charge of an $89 billion budget and was considered a serious contender for Governor.

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