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GOP lawmakers want fellow Republican accused of inappropriate relations with an intern to step down

Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, speaks on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives on January 11, 2023.
Texas House of Representatives live stream
Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, speaks on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives in January.

Two Republican lawmakers in the Texas House of Representatives are calling for the resignation of state Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, after reports that he had an inappropriate relationship with an intern.

Rep. Steve Toth, R-The Woodlands, tweeted the allegations against Slaton “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,” Toth tweeted Tuesday. “What’s most troubling about the events of this story is that his behavior appears to be predatory.”

He called for Slaton’s immediate resignation.

The Texas Tribune reported Monday on a complaint filed against Slaton, alleging the Republican called the intern late at night and invited her to his Austin condo. A source with direct knowledge of the incident told the Tribune that “Slaton drank alcohol with the intern, who was under 21.”

On Monday, Slaton retained Rockwall-based criminal-defense attorney Patrick Short.

Short didn’t respond to a detailed request for comment from The Texas Newsroom.

However, on Monday, he issued a statement confirming he was hired by the Republican “in a matter relating to a possible complaint filed against him.”

“We are aware of outrageous allegations circulating online by second-tier media that make false claims against Representative Slaton,” Short said before the Texas Tribune story.

Slaton is one of the House’s most conservative members. He has filed legislation that targets people in the LGBTQ community, and in 2021, he filed a bill that would have allowed women to receive the death penalty if they had an abortion.

Rumors at the Texas Capitol have grown since Slaton missed Thursday’s House vote on the budget. He was the author of 27 amendments.

A day after the vote, Rep. Briscoe Cain, R-Deer Park, went on Twitter and posted in reference to Slaton.

“I am absolutely furious at a republican (sic) whom I believe to be a sexual predator,” Cain tweeted. “I’ve never been so ticked off at another legislator. 🤬 He should resign now.”

The status of the alleged investigation into Slaton is unclear.

Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, the chair of the House General Investigating Committee, declined to comment.

House Speaker Dade Phelan said he expects the matter to be addressed swiftly under the rules governing the Texas House.

“The Texas House does not tolerate misconduct or other inappropriate behaviors and takes all allegations related to these issues seriously,” Phelan wrote in a statement.

Sergio Martínez-Beltrán is the former Texas Capitol reporter for The Texas Newsroom.
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