Texas Rep. Bryan Slaton resigned from office Monday, two days after a House investigation committee determined he violated multiple chamber rules by providing alcohol to and having sexual intercourse with a 19-year-old member of his staff.
Slaton, R-Royse City, did not address the findings against him in his resignation letter to Gov. Greg Abbott.
“It has been an honor to represent my friends, neighbors and the great people and communities of House District 2,” Slaton wrote. “They voted overwhelmingly to send me to the Capitol as their representative in two elections, and I worked daily to meet their expectations. My decision today is to ensure that their expectations will continue to be met by a new representative who will also work hard on their behalf.”
Slaton did not appear to show up for work Monday at the Capitol and was not present on the House floor.
His resignation comes a day before House members are scheduled to vote Tuesday to expel Slaton on a recommendation from the chamber’s General Investigating Committee. The committee on Saturday released a 16-page report that determined Slaton on March 31 or April 1 had sexual intercourse with the young staffer in his Austin apartment. The report said that because Slaton had primary responsibility for the aide, she “was unable to give effective consent.”
On Monday, Rep. Andrew Murr, who heads the investigating committee, said he will go through with Tuesday’s vote, because by resigning Slaton stays in office until his successor is elected.
“It remains my intent to call up House Resolution 1542 to expel Representative Slaton from the Texas House of Representatives,” Murr posted on Facebook. “Though Representative Slaton has submitted his resignation from office, under Texas law he is considered to be an officer of this state until a successor is elected and takes the oath of office to represent Texas House District 2.”
Murr’s committee found that on three occasions Slaton violated the House personnel drug and alcohol policy by providing alcohol to an underaged person, and that Slaton harassed the aide by showing her an email from an unknown person that he likely fabricated that revealed information about the sexual encounter.
Last week, that investigation committee held a due process hearing at the Capitol, which Slaton attended. Committee members by then had obtained a report from Catherine Evans, a former criminal court judge in Harris County whom they tasked with investigating allegations against Slaton from the aide and two other people.
Slaton, a married father and a former pastor, did not deny having sex with the woman, the report said.
An expulsion from the House requires approval from two-thirds of the 150 members. Some House Republicans had previously called for Slaton to resign after the allegations against him first surfaced in April.
The House last expelled a member in 1927.
Pressure for Slaton to resign intensified over the weekend, when the House Freedom Caucus threatened to vote to expel Slaton if he did not voluntarily quit. Slaton is not a member of the Freedom Caucus but is ideologically aligned with its far-right membership.
“The factual report from the House General Investigations Committee regarding Rep. Bryan Slaton is appalling,” the caucus tweeted. “The abhorrent behavior described in the report requires clear and strong action. He should resign. If he does not, we will vote to expel him Tuesday.”
Rep. Jared Patterson, R-Frisco, tweeted that he would vote to remove Slaton.
“I could not finish reading the GI Committee Report re: Rep. Bryan Slaton,” Patterson wrote. “It’s disturbing & disgusting that a predator like Rep. Slaton is a member of the Texas House. I look forward to voting to expel Mr. Slaton and protecting the integrity of the Texas House of Representatives.”
Slaton, in his second term, quickly established a reputation in the Legislature as a conservative bomb thrower. He filed or supported legislation to ban drag shows and to oppose transgender rights, and he was part of a small coalition of House Republicans who fought unsuccessfully to end the House’s long-standing practice of giving committee chairmanships to the minority party.