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Florida State Rep. Bob Allen resigns amidst sex conviction

Tuesday Nov 20, 2007

State Rep. Bob Allen resigned Friday after being convicted of agreeing to pay $20 to perform oral sex on an undercover police officer in the men's room of a Titusville park.

The Merritt Island Republican submitted his resignation to House Speaker Marco Rubio, who had been pressing Allen to give up his seat since Nov. 9, when a Brevard County jury found him guilty of soliciting for sex.

Allen was sentenced to six months on probation and fined $250 Thursday, when he also filed an appeal. He could have received a maximum of 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

"Due to the requirements of my family and private life, and in order to seek justice in the upcoming appeal process, I regretfully would like to inform you that I will need to resign," Allen wrote in the letter to Rubio, R-West Miami.

Allen was known for trying to pass tougher public lewdness laws since being elected in 2000. He had been planning to run for the Florida Senate next year.

His resignation will go into effect Feb. 15 or when a replacement is elected. Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to order a special election in Allen's Space Coast district.

"Floridians in House District 32 deserve a strong voice to represent them in the Florida House, and I am encouraged that they will now have that opportunity," said Florida Republican Party Chairman Jim Greer.

Greer had joined Rubio and other GOP leaders in calling for Allen's resignation immediately after he was convicted.

Rubio said then that it was impossible for Allen "to represent responsibly the citizens of his district." The speaker, though, had no comment on the resignation Friday, said House spokeswoman Jill Chamberlin.

If Allen had not resigned the House could have removed him but probably not until March when the Legislature begins its next regular session. A special session was unlikely because the Senate also would have to convene even though only the House could take action against Allen.

Officer Danny Kavanaugh testified the lawmaker peered over a stall at him in July and asked to go somewhere private. Kavanaugh said he then told Allen "I'm looking to get some money. Can you hook me up with $20."

Defense lawyers denied Allen was seeking sex but was afraid the officer intended to rob him so he went along with whatever the he said until he could get away.

In his letter to Rubio, Allen said serving in the House was an honor he'll never forget and that helped him gain greater insights about Florida.

"Florida's future will be bright if we pursue our opportunities while maintaining the solid principles which built our foundation," Allen wrote. "I look forward to working with you and the members of the Florida House in the future."

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