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Florida COVID-19 dashboard designer faces cyber sexual harassment charges, DeSantis says

Gov. DeSantis comments on COVID-19 Dashboard creator. (CNN Newsource)Thumbnail

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (WPEC) — The woman who designed Florida's COVID-19 dashboard and later fired faces an open criminal investigation for sexual cyber-harassment and cyberstalking, Gov. DeSantis said Wednesday.

Rebekah Jones made headlines this week after telling WPEC her removal was "not voluntary" and that she was removed from her position because she was ordered to censor some data, but refused to "manually change data to drum up support for the plan to reopen."

DeSantis said Tuesday Jones was let go for insubordination and reiterated the stance on Wednesday with Vice President at his side in Orlando.

"She didn't listen to people who are her superiors," said DeSantis.

"Come to find out she's also under active criminal charges in the state of Florida. She's being charged with cyber stalking and cyber sexual harassment," said DeSantis.

A police report from Tallahassee Police shows a man claimed to be a victim of revenge porn by Rebekah Jones in June of 2019. The man told police he had an injunction against Jones for a year until it recently expired. He said Jones posted a website which included naked pictures of him, and shared it with his place of employment and family members.

At the time of her arrest, she listed her place of employment as the Florida Department of Health.

DeSantis said Jones is not a scientist. He said she had degrees in journalism, communications, and geography. He also said she's not the chief architect of the web portal.

"She was putting data on the portal which the scientists believed didn't believe was valid data," DeSantis said. "So she didn't listen to the people who were her superiors."

The governor said the dashboard data is transparent.

"Any insinuation otherwise is just typical partisan narrative trying to be spun," DeSantis said.

WPEC reached out to Jones via the email she used to contact the station, which matches the one listed in the police report. The email bounced back with an "out of office" reply.