Speed Reads

cleaning House

Texas state lawmaker faces House expulsion for having sex with 19-year-old intern

The Texas House will vote as early as Tuesday on whether to expel Rep. Bryan Slaton (R), one of its most conservative members, after an investigation found that he served alcohol to a 19-year-old intern, had inappropriate sexual conduct with her, then tried to cover up his actions. The House General Investigations Committee recommended his expulsion and detailed the investigation in a 16-page report passed out to all 150 members on the House floor on Saturday.

"The expulsion of a fellow member is a level of punishment we don't take lightly," state Rep. Andrew Murr (R), who heads the investigations committee and filed the motion to expel Slaton, said on the House floor. Expulsion requires approval from a two-thirds majority. The last time the state House expelled legislators was in 1927, when it kicked out two lawmakers implicated in a bribery scandal.

In this case, the committee found, Slaton violated several House rules and likely three Class A misdemeanors plus "unlawful employment practices." The investigation, carried out by a retired judge, found that Slaton, 45 and married, had sex with the intern at his Austin condo early April 1. The intern said Slaton had provided her "a lot of alcohol" and she felt "really dizzy," but did not answer questions about the sexual activity. A friend told the committee the intern had unprotected sex with Slaton and procured Plan B pregnancy-prevention medication the next morning. 

Because of the alcohol, the aide "could not effectively consent to intercourse and could not indicate whether [Slaton's conduct] was welcome or unwelcome," the committee found.

Slaton, a former Southern Baptist youth and family minister, did not deny the allegations or express regret or remorse for his conduct, the report said. Instead, his lawyer argued that the behavior was conducted outside the workplace and thus none of the committee's business. In April, Slaton's lawyer had accused "second-tier media" of circulating "false" and "outrageous claims" against Slaton. 

Since defeating a more moderate Republican in his Dallas-area district in 2020, Slaton has called for a blanket ban on drag shows to save children from "perverted adults" and proposed tax cuts for only straight, married, non-divorced couples with children, The Texas Tribune reports. He has also tried to make abortion a capital offense, The Dallas Morning News adds

Rep. Jared Patterson (R) tweeted that Slaton is a "predator" and he looks forward to voting to expel him from the House. The Hunt County GOP in Slaton's district called on him to resign "for the good of the Republican Party," and the Texas Freedom Caucus — a House faction ideologically aligned with Slaton — called his actions "appalling" Sunday night and said if he doesn't resign, "we will vote to expel him Tuesday."