TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The president of the Florida Senate says an outside investigator will be hired to examine allegations that a powerful Republican member who is running for governor groped and harassed women.

Senate President Joe Negron made the announcement Saturday after the Senate’s general counsel, Dawn Roberts, recused herself because she has worked with Sen. Jack Latvala.

Politico Florida has reported that six women say Latvala either touched them inappropriately or made demeaning comments about their bodies.

Latvala is chairman of the Senate budget committee. He denies the allegations and says he is being targeted because he is running for the Republican gubernatorial nomination.