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Lawmaker in Texas Resigns Before He Can Be Expelled

GOP Rep. Bryan Slaton is accused of inappropriate sexual conduct with a 19-year-old
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 8, 2023 9:02 AM CDT
Updated May 9, 2023 5:48 AM CDT
Texas Lawmaker Faces Expulsion on Intern Allegations
Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, is seen at the Texas Capitol in Austin on Jan. 18.   (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP)
UPDATE May 9, 2023 5:48 AM CDT

A Republican Texas state lawmaker resigned Monday ahead of an expected vote to expel him after an investigation found he had inappropriate sexual conduct with a 19-year-old intern, per the AP. The resignation letter of Rep. Bryan Slaton, 45, did not address the allegations. “I look forward to spending more time with my young family, and will continue to find ways to serve my community and all citizens across our great state,” he wrote. The chairman of the investigating panel, Rep. Andrew Murr, said he still might call for a vote to expel Slaton because he remains an officer of the state until his successor is elected and sworn in.

May 8, 2023 9:02 AM CDT

A Texas legislative committee recommended Saturday that GOP Rep. Bryan Slaton be expelled for inappropriate sexual conduct with a 19-year-old intern. Slaton, from Royse City, could face an expulsion vote by the full House as early as Tuesday. Slaton, 45, has declined to comment on the allegations and didn't immediately respond to a phone message left by the AP on Saturday, but his attorney last month called the claims "outrageous" and "false." The House General Investigating Committee's recommendation was first reported by the Texas Tribune.

  • The allegations: In the written investigation report, the committee said Slaton gave the 19-year-old intern and another young staffer alcohol at his home, that he had sex with the intern after she was intoxicated, and that he later showed the intern a threatening email but said everything would be fine if the incident was kept quiet. Slaton also asked a fellow lawmaker to keep his behavior secret, the committee said.

  • Committee reaction: "Slaton's misconduct is grave and serious," the committee members wrote in a report, noting that he furnished alcohol to a minor, violated employment laws, abused his position of power, and engaged in harassment. "It is the committee's unanimous recommendation that ... the only appropriate discipline in this matter is expulsion."
  • Lawmaker's background: Slaton's legislative bio describes him as "a proud East Texan with values and principles that represent the great people of East Texas," values he says were formed by his participation in church and family gatherings. His bio also cites his degrees from a Baptist seminary school and his work serving as a youth minister. Slaton has repeatedly pushed to ban drag shows for kids and has tweeted his support for laws prohibiting gender-affirming health care. "Children don't need to be focused on sex and sexualization," Slaton said in an interview last year.

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  • How the probe started: The misconduct investigation began after two 19-year-old legislative aides and a 21-year-old legislative intern filed complaints in April. The committee hired a former state judge to conduct the investigation, which confirmed the complaints, Committee Chairman Andrew Murr, a Republican, told the 150-member House on Saturday.
  • What's next: Murr said he expects a resolution calling for Slaton's expulsion on Tuesday. Expelling Slaton would require a two-thirds vote from House members.
  • Disturbing discovery: The AP finds that between 2017 and 2021, at least 120 state lawmakers in 41 states have faced public allegations of sexual misconduct or harassment. Among those cases was an Idaho lawmaker who was eventually convicted in 2022 of raping a legislative intern.
More here on the complaints filed against Slaton. (More Texas stories.)

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