June 2023 Church & State Magazine - June 2023

‘Family values’ Republican legislator in Texas removed after sex offense


A member of the Texas House of Representatives who portrayed himself as a conservative Christian and champion of family values was forced out of office after an investigation determined that he had engaged in sex with a 19-year-old aide.

Bryan Slaton (R-Hopkins) resigned from the House rather than be expelled. Slaton, 45, took the action after the Texas House Committee on General Investigating issued an 18-page report on his conduct, reported NBC News. The report found Slaton guilty of “grave and serious” conduct, specifically sexual harassment and retaliation. The committee unanimously recommended that he be expelled from the House. Despite Slaton’s resignation, the House voted 147-0 to expel him. 

According to the report, Slaton invited the aide to his apartment in Austin on March 31. Three friends joined her. He served the aide several alcoholic drinks. She later reported feeling “really dizzy” after consuming the drinks. After her friends left, the aide and Slaton had unprotected sex. She then recalled having subsequently taken a “Plan B” drug to avoid pregnancy.

The aide told the committee she felt she was too intoxicated to consent to sex, but the committee refrained from asserting that Slaton was guilty of sexual assault, saying it did not have “sufficient facts” to make that determination.

The report also found that Slaton had harassed and threatened other staff members to prevent them from speaking about the incident. Slaton reportedly told the aide that “everything would be fine” and that “everyone involved just has to stay quiet.”

Slaton, who served as a youth and family minister at a Baptist church for 13 years before entering politics, was known for promoting Christian-Nationalist-themed legislation. He once introduced a bill that would have classified getting an abortion or providing one a homicide punishable by death. He also sought legislation to ban children from attending drag shows and labeled an all-ages drag performance a “grooming event.” Slaton said the legislation was necessary to protect children from “perverted adults.” A few months ago, he filed a bill to eliminate property taxes for families with four or more children. He has also cosponsored legislation designed to bar any taxpayer funds from being spent on gender-reassignment procedures and treatments. 

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