The attorney representing the legislative aide who has accused Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, of sexual harassment is asking the Senate to retain nearly eight years of records. Tiffany Cruz, who is representing Rachel Perrin Rogers, made the request last week saying she wanted to preserve the records in the event her client pursues a lawsuit regarding the sexual harassment claims.
“This letter is being sent in anticipation of litigation under related to violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Chapter 760, Florida Statutes, and other statutes related to such violations and the concomitant conduct which my firm has been retained to investigate,” Cruz wrote in a letter to Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, last Wednesday.
The federal Civil Rights Act provides protections to employees who may be a victim of employment discrimination based on sex, race, color, religion and national origin.
“Please regard this letter as my request that you preserve documents, tangible things, and electronically stored information (ESI) potentially relevant to the issues relating to claims which may be brought against the Florida Senate and Senator Jack Latvala,” Cruz wrote.
“You should anticipate that your officers, employees, or others may seek to hide, destroy or alter ESI. Especially where state computers were used for Internet access or personal communications,” Cruz added.
Perrin Rogers is one of six women who made anonymous claims to Politico in early November asserting that Latvala has made lewd comments to them and/or touched them inappropriately. She was the only one of the six to file a formal complaint with the Senate Rules Committee against Latvala.
Latvala has said while he may have made inappropriate comments, he insists he never touched anyone inappropriately.
The specific statute that Cruz refers to in her letter to Negron deals with the Florida Commission on Human Relations and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. A sexual harassment victim would first file a complaint with either commission before moving forward with a civil suit.
There are currently two investigations being conducted in the Senate regarding the sexual harassment claims against Latvala. One of those is being conducted by a special master. Senate President-Designate Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, and Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, who serves on the Rules Committee, have said the special master’s report could be ready as early this week.