Texas GOP’s top anti-groomer crusader resigns over sexual misconduct with teenage aide

The lawmaker was facing an expulsion hearing after an internal investigation found he had furnished a 19-year-old staffer with alcohol and later tried to intimidate her into silence about what transpired and their relationship.

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SOURCECommon Dreams

Republican State Rep. Bryan Slaton of Texas resigned his seat Monday in order to avoid a public expulsion hearing after an investigation determined one of the party’s loudest voices promoting the baseless threat of “groomers” in the LGBTQ+ community had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 19-year-old member of his staff that included furnishing her with alcohol.

As the Texas Tribunenotes:

Pressure had mounted on the Royse City Republican to resign since Saturday, when the House General Investigative Committee released a 16-page report finding Slaton had engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with his aide. The committee of three Republicans and two Democrats recommended that Slaton be the first state representative expelled from the body since 1927.

In a statement, GOP state chair Matt Rinaldi said, “The Republican Party of Texas commends the Texas House for responding swiftly and appropriately to the reprehensible actions of Representative Slaton” and that the “misconduct described in the General Investigative Committee Report should never be tolerated and is proper grounds for expulsion.”

The Tribune detailed how the committee’s investigative report also “alleged that after Slaton and the woman had unprotected sex in the early hours of April 1, Slaton drove her home, and she later went to a drugstore to purchase Plan B medication to prevent a pregnancy. Slaton, a staunch abortion opponent, later tried to intimidate the woman and her friends into not speaking about the incident, the report said.”

While at least one political observer noted Slaton’s resignation came “without an apology” for his conduct, others were quick to note that Slaton has been one of the GOP’s most aggressive promoters of the “grooming” conspiracy theory that equates LGBTQ+ community members and drag show performers with pedophilia.

According toVice reporting from last month when the allegations against Slaton first emerged:

Slaton, who is 45 years old, has spent more than a year denouncing all-ages drag performances, and last month he introduced a bill to ban drag shows from having kids in attendance.

“In the wake of these erotic drag performances sweeping our state, I committed last year to filing legislation that would stop this disgusting practice in the presence of children,” he said in a statement announcing the bill.

“The State has a duty to protect kids from being sexually exploited, and HB 4129 is the most comprehensive bill to stop the sexualization of kids by these performances,” he continued.

Slaton has previously blasted an all-ages drag show as a “grooming event.”

“This is just going to the grooming, the sexualization of our children,” he said last summer. “This comes down to decency, morality and ethics, and children should not be the object of your sexualization, your desires.”

An expulsion hearing was scheduled in the Texas State House on Tuesday, but Slaton’s resignation arrived first.

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