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This Week in Schadenfreude: Good Riddance

Like a great many Republican politicians, Texas state Rep. Bryan Slaton spent much of his time in office policing the sexual behavior of others. He worked on bills meant to curb birth control and abortion, to crack down on "groomers," and to limit the options of trans people. Of course, many of the evildoers he was chasing, like the groomers, were phantoms that existed only in his mind.

Slaton spent so much time in his own mind, it would seem he forgot to, you know, look in the mirror. A married man and a father, and someone who described himself as a "bold and brave Christian-Conservative," he was also in the habit of pursuing sexual relationships with his underlings. And he had success with at least one of them, a 19-year-old legislative aide. And by "success," we mean that he apparently persuaded the woman to go home with him voluntarily, then plied her with vast amounts of alcohol, then had unprotected sexual relations with her, then helped her get emergency contraceptives.

The number of offenses here is just staggering. There's grooming, of course. And sexual assault and rape. There's the hypocrisy of opposing birth control, but then acquiring it the moment he has a need for it. Sexual harassment, naturally. Cheating on his wife, and breaking about five other commandments. It was enough stuff that the Texas legislature's report on the matter ran to 16 pages, all but the first two of them single-spaced.

Slaton tried to fight off the inevitable, but he finally resigned on Monday, and then was expelled (a purely symbolic act, at that point) on Tuesday by a vote of his now-former colleagues. We can only hope (though we can't find confirmation) that he will also face criminal charges. We feel badly for his wife and son, who presumably have been hurt terribly by this, but as to Slaton himself, good riddance.

Meanwhile, the lesson here is hardly a profound one, but we'll say it nonetheless: When people are obsessed with policing the behavior of others, particularly the sexual behavior of others, there's often something else going on. And certainly, the morality cops often fail to live up to the "standards" they would set for everyone else. (Z)

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