FRUITLAND PARK, Fla. - The Fruitland Park city manager accused of sexual battery on the job is speaking out for the first time on Tuesday after offering to resign from his post.
Ralph Bowers told Local 6 the accusations against him are false. Bowers, 73, is under investigation by Lake County Sheriff's Office after allegations surfaced that he sexually battered a city employee.
"I had to take a measured risk taking the time to talk to you today," Bowers told Local 6. "I said 'if you die on the front steps Ralph at least do it telling the truth.'"
The victim's attorney sent a letter to the city saying Bowers physically and psychologically tortured the victim over the course of two years. She said Bowers threatened her job if she didn't perform sexual favors for him at his home and his office, according to the letter.
"She suffered severe psychological trauma,she had to go to counseling for this," said attorney Thomas Luka. "She has had documented legitimate injuries as a result of her handling by Mr. Bowers."
The letter also states the victim had to be hospitalized on two occasions because of the abuse. When asked about the abuse, Bowers denied the victim's claim and laughed at it.
"I'm sure that an impartial investigation can clear that up," Bowers said.
Luka said his client would be willing to settle the matter for $100,000 in a letter which he says wasn't a threat but a formal notice required by law.
Bowers said the timing of the letter is politically motivated and pointed the finger at councilman Jim Richardson, who is fighting to keep his council seat in a runoff election against Chris Chesire. Bowers said he and Richardson have had an ongoing feud for years.
"He feels it will assist him in this election," Bowers said. "I'm absolutely positive of that."
Local 6 spoke to Richardson over the phone, who denied Bowers' allegations.
"It's just another lie from Ralph Bowers," Richardson said. "It's about time that he owns up to his inappropriate behavior."
Bowers told Local 6 that although he will be vindicated with the investigation, the damage to his career has already been done.
"I find myself in that position nothing that was said about me has to be true. It's out there," Bowers said.
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