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SARASOTA, Fla (WFLA)–A sexual assault investigation is taking center stage in Florida politics and education in Sarasota County.
A search warrant obtained by the Florida Center for Government Accountability describes how Florida GOP Chairman Christian Ziegler and his wife Bridget agreed to meet the victim for a sexual encounter on October 2.
When Bridget couldn’t make it, the victim changed her mind and cancelled.
The search warrant alleges Christian still showed up to the victim’s home and sexually assaulted her while she was under the influence of alcohol.
So far no criminal charges have been filed against Ziegler, but Florida House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell said the allegations alone are enough to call for Ziegler’s resignation.
“These allegations are incredibly serious,” she said. “Right now, it’s up to the Sarasota Police Department to investigate thoroughly.”
“We’ll see if charges are filed against the chair of the Republican Party of Florida, but considering what we already know, I think the most appropriate thing is for Mr. Ziegler to step down as chair of the Republican Party of Florida,” she continued. “For him not to resign, frankly, would send a chilling message to the women of Florida about how the republican party views sexual assault.”
But what message does it send to students?
Bridget Ziegler resigned from ‘The Leadership Institute’ but continues to serve on the Sarasota County School Board.
Lisa Schurr is the co-founder of an organization called ‘Support our Schools.’
They plan to host a rally before Tuesday’s school board meeting calling for Bridget to step down.
“We believe that there’s no way this school board can move forward with Bridget Ziegler sitting on the board,” she said.
“Why are you guys calling for Bridget to step down?,’ 8 On Your Side reporter Nicole Rogers asked.
“Well, to be honest, it’s not just this latest thing that’s come out with respect to the sexual three-way,” Schurr explained. “There’s a long history with Bridget Ziegler.”
Bridget’s fellow school board member Tom Edwards agrees, saying it’s time for her to resign.
“The distractions need to be over, the resignation needs to happen,” he said. “It’s for our students, our community, our faculty, it’s time to move on.”
“Mrs. Ziegler, it’s time for you to go,” he continued. “It’s time for your chaos and your drama – all of that needs to go.”
We reached out to the Zieglers to hear their side of the story, but have not heard back.
In an email to the Florida GOP, Christian said he wasn’t able to release many details to protect the integrity of the investigation, but says quote “I will have a lot more to share about the facts, how this transpired, the motive and who was behind it.” once the investigation is complete.
Earlier in the email, he states, “There are leaks in this process who are feeding the press selective information to generate narratives with, knowing that I cannot publicly counter them or share my side of the story at this point in the process.”