Oklahoma senator booked on sexual battery charge and resigns
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An Oklahoma state senator accused of grabbing an Uber driver’s head and kissing her neck while she was driving him to a bar both resigned from office and was booked into jail Tuesday after being charged last week with felony sexual battery.
Bryce Marlatt, 40, a Republican from the western Oklahoma city of Woodward, was booked into the Oklahoma County jail Tuesday morning and later released on a $5,000 bond.
Marlatt’s two paragraph letter of resignation to Gov. Mary Fallin, also a Republican, said he is resigning immediately.
“My service on behalf of the people of Northwest and the panhandle of Oklahoma has been the privilege of my career,” the letter said, without addressing the allegations against him.
A married father of four, Marlatt was charged after the Uber driver told police he groped her after she picked him up from an Oklahoma City restaurant on June 26.
Marlatt previously said he was shocked by the allegations. His attorney, Scott Adams, declined comment beyond confirming that Marlatt has resigned his office.
If convicted, Marlatt faces up to 10 years in prison.
In a statement, Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz, a Republican from Altus, said Marlatt “made the right decision” in stepping down.
“We all must face the consequences of the decisions we make,” Schulz said. “I hope now he is able to focus completely on his family and the legal matter before him.”
In court documents filed last Wednesday, an Oklahoma City police detective said the Uber driver told investigators that Marlatt stumbled into her car and commented on her appearance when she picked him up from the restaurant. She said during the ride, he grabbed her and kissed her neck and shoulder.
“He made a comment that if she worked for him then he would ‘feel’ her up,” Detective Natalie Cannon wrote in an affidavit accompanying the charge.
Marlatt was removed as chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and as vice chairman of two other Senate panels by Schulz when the allegations surfaced in July.
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