Allen resigns after sex solicitation conviction

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A senior Florida Republican has resigned from the state legislature following his conviction for soliciting oral sex from an undercover police officer.

Bob Allen was spotted by police in Titusville, Florida on July 11th acting suspiciously at the men’s toilets in a park.

Officers decided to send a policeman undercover to investigate, and within minutes Mr Allen agreed to pay him $20 (£10) to allow him to perform oral sex.

Allen was facing 60 days in jail, but last week was sentenced to six month’s probation and fined $250 (£122) plus $245 costs, ordered never to return to the park where the incident happened, be tested for sexually transmitted diseases and attend a HIV awareness class.

Republican party representatives said last week he should resign from office and threatened to remove him.

On Friday he submitted his resignation to the Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives.

However, unless a special election is arranged, Allen’s resignation will not become effective until February next year.

He had already been removed from the chair of committees and other House assignments.

“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 my elected position as the Legislator for House District 32, effective February 15th 2008, or when the Secretary of State can certify a replacement through a general election,” Allen wrote in a letter to House Speaker Marco Rubio.

Depending on the outcome of that appeal, Allen may still run for state Senate seat.

He had sponsored a failed bill in the Florida statehouse earlier this year, the Lewdness and Indecent Exposure Bill, designed to increase the penalties for committing “unnatural and lascivious acts or exposure or exhibition of sexual organs committed within specified distance of certain locations.”

Since his election in 2000, he has been one of the most homophobic politicians in the Florida state senate.

He received the title of “Wicked Witch,” which is reserved for “The Worst of the Worst,” from Florida’s Rainbow Democratic Gay Lesbian organisation.