OKLAHOMA CITY — Sen. Bryce Marlatt on Tuesday became the latest Oklahoma lawmaker to resign following allegations of misconduct.
Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater last week charged Marlatt, R-Woodward, with one felony count of sexual battery, according to court records.
Marlatt made his first court appearance on the charge Tuesday.
His attorney, Scott Anderson, said Marlatt resigned effective immediately. He had been a member of the Senate since 2008.
“My service on behalf of the people of Northwest and the Panhandle of Oklahoma has been the privilege of my career,” Marlatt wrote in a letter to Gov. Mary Fallin. “I would like to thank my constituents, friends and most importantly, my family for the confidence they have placed in me and the kindness they have shown me during my tenure.”
Fallin is expected to set a special election to replace Marlatt.
He is accused of kissing an Uber driver who picked him up late from a restaurant on June 26 for transport to a bar near the Capitol. Upon entering the vehicle, Marlatt told the driver she had nice breasts, court records allege.
The woman said Marlatt grabbed her head and tried to turn it toward him as he attempted to kiss her, a probable cause affidavit alleges.
Marlatt “then kissed her on the right side of her neck down to her shoulder leaving saliva on her neck and shoulder area,” the affidavit says. “She told him to sit down and not touch her or she was calling police.”
In July, Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz, R-Altus, removed Marlatt from his leadership role after he was accused of the lewd conduct.
Marlatt was chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and vice chairman of both the Senate Rules and the Senate Transportation committees.
“We all must face the consequences of the decisions we make,” Schulz said in a statement Tuesday. “Senator Bryce Marlatt made the right decision in resigning in light of the charges against him. I hope now he is able to focus completely on his family and the legal matter before him. My thoughts and prayers continue to be with Senator Marlatt, his family and friends, and all those involved in this matter. The Senate now will turn the page and move forward with the business of the state.”
Former Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City, resigned in April after allegations surfaced that he diverted campaign funds to personal use. He later pleaded guilty to embezzlement of more than $100,000 from his campaign, filing false campaign reports and perjury. He paid restitution and is on probation for three years.
Former Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, resigned in March after allegations surfaced that he was engaging in child prostitution with a teenage boy. A federal grand jury indicted Shortey on four federal child-sex crimes.
Former Rep. Dan Kirby, R-Tulsa, resigned in February following allegations of sexual harassment at the Capitol. Kirby denied wrongdoing.
Former Sen. Rick Brinkley, R-Owasso, resigned in 2015. He was sent to prison for embezzling $1.8 million from the Tulsa Better Business Bureau, where he had been employed as president, CEO and chief operating officer.