Lawmaker who wants to ban kids from drag shows accused of ‘inappropriate relationship’ with intern

Bryan Slaton talking during a Twitter video.

A former pastor turned Republican lawmaker, who called for minors to be protected from “perverted” LGBTQ+ adults, has been accused of having an “inappropriate relationship” with an intern.

Texas state representative Bryan Slaton is under investigation for allegedly inviting a 19-year-old intern to his Austin apartment after 10pm on 31 March and offering her alcohol. In Texas, providing alcohol to a minor (under 21) is a misdemeanour, punishable by a $4,000 (approximately £3,200) maximum fine and up to a year in jail.

The complaint, obtained by The Texas Tribune, was reported to the House General Investigating Committee by a legislative staffer. The account was corroborated by another Capitol employee.

Following the incident, Slaton is alleged to have shown the intern fake emails which detailed their late-night meeting. The complaint stated that the emails were a “loyalty test”. Slaton then told her not to speak to anyone about the incident, it is alleged.

Brian Slaton’s lawyer, Patrick Short, responded to the complaint, saying: “We are aware of outrageous claims circulating online by second-tier media that make false claims against representative Slaton. As a result, he has been advised to forward all inquiries in this matter, including any that may relate to a possible complaint, to his legal counsel.”

According to The Texas Tribune, a representative for the intern has advised her not to comment on the situation.

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Texas house speaker, Republican Dade Phelan, said the house does not tolerate “misconduct or other inappropriate behaviours and takes all allegations related to these issues seriously”, adding that he expects the matter to be addressed in a swift and thorough manner.

Slaton was absent from the chamber on Thursday for an important debate on the state budget, a budget to which he had added 27 amendments, The Texas Tribune reported.

Fellow Republican, Briscoe Cane, called on Bryan Slaton to resign. “I am absolutely furious at a Republican whom I believe to be a sexual predator,” he tweeted.

“I’ve never been so ticked off at another legislator. He should resign now.”

Meanwhile, Democrat Ana-Maria Ramos wrote on Twitter: “Young adults working in the Capitol are vulnerable and predators readily target these people. We owe it to these young professionals to set the standard and protect them from harm.”

Bryan Slaton has become known for his hard right-wing stance and has quickly become synonymous with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. In 2022, he called for a ban on children going to drag shows to protect them from “perverted adults”.

In a tweet, he wrote: “We must protect Texas kids from sick adults who want to sexualise them. No drag shows. No porn in their libraries. No gender transition surgeries. Yes to letting kids be kids.”

He also proposed legislation to give property tax cuts to straight married couples – but not those in LGBTQ+ relationships, or anyone who had been divorced – based on the number of children they have.

In addition, the lawmaker tried to introduce legislation making abortion illegal. He wanted women, and physicians who performed the procedure, to face criminal charges that could have carried the death penalty.