• Florida to pay out $900,000 in taxpayer money for state Senate sexual harassment case

    By: Christopher Heath


    TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - In an effort to close the book on a sexual harassment case that could have implicated leading state senators, Florida will pay out $900,000 of taxpayer money.

    Newly released documents show the Florida Senate just agreed to pay the sum to former staffer Perrin Rogers to avoid a sexual harassment trial. 

    Rogers worked for future Senate President Wilton Simpson, and was one of six women to accuse disgraced former lawmaker Jack Latvala of sexual harassment.


    So, with a taxpayer-funded settlement of $900,000, the case goes away.

    On top of that, state senators do not have to testify under oath.

    “With sexual harassment charges against a very influential former senator a court case that was going to involve subpoenas for a lot of very high profile people and having them testify in court, it is somewhat interesting that the legislature – the Senate in particular – was able to approve a large settlement and make this go away,” said University of Central Florida political science professor Aubrey Jewett.

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    That’s because the state, and other governmental entities in Florida, are only required to pay the first $200,000 of a settlement. 

    That stipulation has left other people waiting for money years after their case came to an end. In July 2011, Erin Joynt was run over by a Volusia County Beach Patrol while she was on vacation. After a four-day trial, a jury awarded her and her family $2.6 million. 

    She and her family are still waiting for the most of that money because of the state’s $200,000 rule.
    In the Senate, the sexual harassment case didn’t have to go through the same process as claims for relief because it was an employment matter.

    But even though the origins are different, the results are the same: Taxpayers pay, and lawmakers decide who gets paid.

    Also read: 
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