Miami Beach candidate apologizes for sexually suggestive text messages
Rafael Velasquez maintains he never exposed penis to Kristen Rosen Gonzalez
MIAMI BEACH, Fla. – A candidate for Miami Beach commissioner apologized Tuesday for sending sexually suggestive text messages to a woman who claims he grabbed her buttocks several months ago.
"I want to profoundly apologize to anyone who was offended in any way by any of my communications," Rafael Velasquez wrote on Facebook. "I really didn't mean to offend anyone nor make anybody feel uncomfortable. Your latest comments have taught me an important lesson, and I will be cautions and mindful to be more sensitive in my communications in the future."
Frances Alban came forward with the text messages after Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez accused Velasquez of exposing his penis to her in her car after they had dinner together to discuss his campaign.
"He was abusive. He exposed himself, even tried to get me to put his hand on him and it was too much," Gonzalez said.
Rosen Gonzalez, who is vying to replace U.S. Rep. Illeana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Florida, in Congress, had supported Velasquez in the upcoming municipal election.
Alban said Velasquez grabbed her while posing for a photograph in June. She said he later sent her sexually suggestive text messages, including one in which he said she "felt good."
Velasquez has denied exposing himself to Rosen Gonzalez, calling it political sabotage orchestrated by opponent Mark Samuelian.
That didn't stop three members of Velasquez's campaign staff from resigning Monday.
"I think it was really Rafael's response to the allegations that we decided that this is not something we can stand up for," former campaign chair Ansh Grover told Local 10 News.
The Miami-Dade Democratic Party also withdrew support for Velasquez.
"Upon learning of the allegation, the chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party immediately withdrew all support of Rafael Velasquez's campaign," chair Juan Cuba said in a statement. "We are now formally calling for him to withdraw from the race."
Velasquez told Local 10 News that he isn't dropping out.
"I am not perfect and am trying to be a better person every day," Velasquez's Facebook post said.
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