For the first time since 1927, a member of the Texas Legislature has been expelled as the House voted unanimously to oust Republican State Rep. Bryan Slaton.
The expulsion comes following following a report released by the House General Investigating Committee on Saturday that found Slaton—45 and married—provided alcohol to a 19-year-old staff member prior to having sex with her at his apartment. The report also found that Slaton attempted to use his position to cover up the situation.
While the investigation lasted around a month, Slaton resigned on Monday, one day prior to the planned expulsion vote.
State Rep. Andrew Murr (R–Kerrville), who chairs the House General Investigating Committee and authored the expulsion resolution, said the move was still necessary due to legal precedent that Slaton would still technically be considered a holdover in office and eligible to receive pay until his replacement took office.
Each member of the five-member committee presented the findings, which describe Slaton as having invited his female staffer to his apartment and saying he “didn’t want to drink alone.” He then reportedly plied the employee with rum and Coke before engaging in sexual intercourse with her. They also alleged Slaton attempted to intimidate the woman into silence.
In addition to violating House rules, the committee suggested Slaton may have broken state laws as well and may be criminally liable.
State Rep. David Spiller (R–Jacksboro), a member of the committee presenting the resolution, said Slaton did not dispute any of the allegations in the reports nor did he show any remorse during their investigation. State Rep. Ann Johnson (D–Houston), another committee member, said Slaton had a “skip in his step” as recently as last week.
The House then unanimously voted 147-0 to expel Slaton.
House Speaker Dade Phelan, who had up until now been silent on the report, spoke shortly after the expulsion vote, calling Slaton’s behavior “predatory.”
“Expulsion of a member of this body is a rare and serious action. Mr. Slaton’s predatory behavior merits such a consequence,” said Phelan. “I am proud of each of our colleagues for holding each of us accountable. I hope the action we have taken here today sends a message that sexual harassment and other inappropriate activities in the workplace will not be condoned and they are unacceptable.”
Quickly after the expulsion vote, Slaton’s name was removed from the voting board and his desk, and the locks were changed in his office. Slaton’s name was also removed from the Texas House website.
Gov. Greg Abbott is expected to soon declare a special election to replace Slaton. That election will likely take place in the summer following the conclusion of the regular legislative session at the end of this month.