AUSTIN, Texas — The Texas House, on a unanimous vote, has expelled second-term Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, for sexual harassment and retaliation, only a day after Slaton resigned from the House.

The last expulsions from the Texas House were a century ago. Slaton’s ouster is the first test of the sexual harassment policy put in place by the House in 2018. The findings of the House General Investigating Committee were that Slaton had plied a 19-year-old intern in his office with alcohol, had sexual intercourse with her at his apartment and then attempted to cover up the relationship.

What You Need To Know

  • The Texas House has expelled a member for the first time in a century

  • Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, was a second-term member of the House and a former youth minister

  • Slaton resigned on Monday, but the House continued with expulsion to cut all ties to him

  • The vote for expulsion was 147-0, with the Speaker Dade Phelan also casting a rare vote

Slaton, 45, mentioned none of these accusations in his resignation letter, to the ire of his colleagues.

“It has been an honor to represent my friends, neighbors and the great people and communities of House District 2,” Slaton wrote in the letter, sent to the governor. “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.”

Resignation from the body was not enough for the House. Rep. Andrew Murr, R-Junction, chairs the General Investigating Committee. He said Monday’s resignation did not separate Slaton from the House until someone was appointed, and approved, to take his seat.

“This means that Rep. Slaton continues to receive his salary, continues to receive his constitutional per diem, continues to be entitled to receive reimbursement for expenses, continues to serve on committees and continues to count as a member of this body for quorum and other purposes,” Murr said. “Most disappointingly, the letter of resignation from yesterday shows no remorse. It contains no apology to those involved or to any of you.”

Members of the General Investigating Committee took turns at the front mic in the House, describing the initial complaints, the process of the investigation and the charges brought by the House. The committee’s charge that Slaton had violated multiple House rules was undisputed.

Rep. Ann Johnson’s, D-Houston, parents met on the floor of the Texas House. He was a lawmaker. She was a reporter for the Dallas Morning News. They were married for 49 years, up to her father’s death.

“We are not here because two consenting adults met and fell in love in the Texas House,” said Johnson, who is a former human trafficking prosecutor. “We are here because a 45-year-old member took advantage of, and abused his power, over his subordinate teenage staffer.”

Then Johnson ticked off Slaton’s actions with the unnamed staff member. First, he gave her drink tokens so she could have her first “real” Capitol drink. Then he began taking photos of her, and asking her to take photos of him. Then it was sitting on a bus on the way to a football game, slipping her drinks.

“How many of us would do that to our teenage staff?” Johnson asked after she noted each detail. “Individually, these moments could be dismissed or even explained away, but, collectively, they show a systemic pattern of manipulation.”

On Friday night, March 31, Slaton called the young intern repeatedly, asking her to come over to his apartment. She arrived with colleagues who were worried about Slaton’s intentions. The young woman, after Slaton plied her with multiple drinks, refused to leave when her friends left. Slaton then had sexual intercourse with her. Once he realized others knew, Slayton created a fake email, attempting to keep the intern quiet.

“Let us be clear. We do not fault this teenage staffer. Ultimately, she does not deny what has been said before, nor does she deny what the others say they saw and heard and what she told them,” Johnson said, adding that Slaton stonewalled the committee, refusing to answer questions. “We do not fault her, but we question consent. We have grave concerns about her level of intoxication, and her statement to others that she would not have done it, but for the fact she was over-served.”

No one offered to speak on Slaton’s behalf, and both the Republican House Caucus and the Republican Party of Texas have denounced Slaton’s actions and supported his removal.

After the unanimous vote to expel Slaton, Speaker Dade Phelan directed all evidence that Slaton was a member of the current House be removed from the chamber: The chief clerk struck his name from the roster. His name was removed from the voting board. He was barred from entrance to the House, and Gov. Greg Abbott was notified of the House’s actions.

Then Phelan read a final statement on the expulsion into the House record, saying expulsion was rare and serious but necessary considering Slaton’s predatory behavior. He thanked the investigating committee and gave a special thanks to the House colleagues who filed complaints about Slaton.