As news of the Special Master’s report on allegations against State Senator Jack Latvala broke yesterday afternoon, some members of the Florida political media and turned the spotlight away from Latvala and instead hurled politically explosive aspersions on Senator Wilton Simpson, claiming he knew about Latvala’s behavior long before the official complaint was filed, and didn’t do anything about it. But a statement by Rachel Perrin Rogers, the woman who filed one of the official complaints against Latvala, has thrown cold water on those claims.
“At the same time that I told Senator Simpson of the elevator incident, I also told him I was taking steps to file the complaint,” Rogers said in the statement. Rogers has worked for Simpson for the past several years.
Rosemary O’Hara, the editorial page editor for the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, fired off a tweet alleging that Simpson had been told by Perrin Rogers of the elevator groping incident with Latvala “shortly after it happened.” But O’Hara offered no evidence to support the claim. The Special Master’s report was unclear on when Simpson had been notified, and it’s still unclear why O’Hara attacked Simpson on Twitter.
But she’s not the only member of the Florida political press that have since lobbed similar attacks on Twitter.
Phill Amman and Jim Rosica, both of whom work for FloridaPolitics.com, fired off tweets here and here echoing O’Hara’s allegation, including one tweet with a black and white graphic of Simpson, who’s eyes are covered with a red label reading: “He Knew.”
Unlike the post from O’Hara, both the Twitter posts from Amman and Rosica were retweets or replies to other posts about Latvala’s resignation, so it’s possible they are just pointing out the existence of an evolving subplot taking shape in the wake of Latvala’s fall from grace. But Perrin Rogers has been outspoken about the support she’s received from Simpson, and her most recent statement appears to shut the door on attempts to cast doubts on Simpson.