State Representative Bryan Slaton of Texas announced his immediate resignation following mounting pressure after news broke that he allegedly had sex with a 19-year-old intern.
The move comes two days after the House General Investigating Committee announced its findings and unanimously recommended Slaton be expelled. The Texas House of Representatives was scheduled to vote on Slanton’s expulsion on May 9.
Slaton is a Republican from Royce City known for his pro-family legislation and advocacy for Texas’s independence. He did not acknowledge the circumstance surrounding his departure in his letter to Governor Greg Abbott. He expressed his gratitude for his constituents who “vote[d] overwhelmingly” for him “in two elections.”
“My decision today is to ensure that their expectation will continue to be met by a new preventive who will also work hard on their behalf,” wrote Slaton. “I am grateful to my many colleagues in the House who fought with me to improve our state for all Texans, and to those who, even when we could not agree, extended their friendship.”
In its May 6 report, the committee stated it had received multiple complaints beginning on April 5 alleging Slaton engaged “in conduct violating a House rule, the Housekeeping Resolution, or House Policy and engaged in inappropriate workplace conduct, specifically conduct constituting sexual harassment and retaliation.”
The complaints were made by three female interns – 21-year-old Hannah W. of “the Capitol office of Representative #1,” 19-year-old Emily J. of “the Capitol office of Representative #1,” and 19-year-old Sophia A. of Slaton’s office.
Slaton is accused of “not conducting himself in a manner free of harassment, by both inappropriate physical behavior and having sexual intercourse with a legislative aide working in his state office and over whom he had primary responsibility for overseeing and who was unable to give effective consent.” The incident reportedly occurred around March 31.
Slaton also allegedly provided alcohol to Sophia A. and Emily J. on three occasions between Jan. 10 and April 3 despite knowing both interns were under the legal drinking age.
The committee also found Salton had attempted to prevent someone with knowledge of his conduct from making a report.
Sophia A. was hired on Jan. 8 and received a salary of $1,500 per month. She received a $1,000 raise on Feb. 1. She is reported to be the only female staff member in Slaton’s office.
Emily J. described Sophia A. as “somewhat naive” and gave a detailed explanation of her growing concerns about the relationship between the intern and the state representative. She also described an incident where Sophia A. asked her about the morning-after pill Plan B after a night of drinking at Slaton’s apartment. Sophia A. declined to answer any of the committee’s requisitions regarding the incident when interviewed on April 28.
When information about Slaton and Sophia A.’s relationship became known to “the entire Freedom Caucus,” another unidentified representative reportedly called and confronted Slaton, who later told the representative he had a plan and needed support.
Under the advice of an attorney, the five male staff members from Slaton’s office refused to meet with the committee’s independent investigator.
“Slaton has not expressed regret or remorse for his conduct to the Committee,” noted the report. “Slaton has not publicly expressed regret or remorse for his conduct.”
The 45-year-old served on the Committee for County Affairs and the Committee for Defense and Veterans Affairs. His current term was set to expire in 2024. He is a former Baptist minister and youth pastor.
While in office, Slaton proposed a bill to provide property tax relief to married couples who remain married and have or adopt children. He also filed the Texas Independence Referendum Act to allow the Texas public to vote on becoming a sovereign nation during the next election.
Republican officials and conservative organizations called for Slaton’s expulsion when information about his actions circulated in the capitol.
“I am absolutely furious at a republican whom I believe to be a sexual predator. I’ve never been so ticked off at another legislator. He should resign now,” tweeted state Representative Briscoe Cain on April 7. He added in a subsequent tweet that “Receipts will come soon. Don’t mess up the process.”
“The past few days in the Texas House screams of everything that’s wrong with a small segment of its elected officials. Unfortunately calling the behavior of [Slaton] ‘inappropriate’ is a gross understatement,” tweeted state Representative Steve Toth on April 11. “What’s most troubling about the events of this story is that his behavior appears to be predatory.”
The Young Conservative of Texas called for Slaton to resign in the wake of the committee’s report.
“The House report on State Representative Bryan Slaton confirms serious sexual misconduct, abuse of power, and an effort to conceal this behavior,” the group wrote on Facebook on May 8. “The Young Conservatives of Texas call on Rep. Slaton to resign. If he refuses, we urge the House to follow the Committee’s recommendation and expel him without hesitation.”
The Texas House last expelled a member in 1927.