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Third senator from Oklahoma facing sex assault charges

Oklahoma state senator Bryce Marlatt, (R-Woodward) has been accused of assaulting a female Uber driver who gave him a ride back to his hotel on June 26. The driver filed a report with the Oklahoma City police two days after it allegedly occurred, stating that the senator grabbed her and kissed her neck as she drove towards his destination.

Police are still investigating the matter, but the senator claimed through his defense attorney that he was "shocked" at the allegations the driver levied against him. He has not been arrested or charged with any crimes at this time. The company has cooperated with the police investigation.

His accuser made her report to a policeman she flagged down at a convenience store near the state Capitol. The senator's attorney confirmed the identity of the politician involved, as the police report itself was redacted to remove his name.

His attorney claims that Senator Marlatt "wants to get to the bottom of this." The attorney said that he had been retained "to contact Uber and figured out what happened."

The 40-year-old senator, who is married and father to four children didn't return messages from the Associated Press. However, he told one media source his attorney would "get to the bottom of these allegations."

Detectives continue to investigate the allegations. On Thursday, the Senate President Pro Tempore relieved Marlatt as chairman of the Energy Committee and also as vice-chairman of two additional Senate panels.

The Senate President Pro Tempore sent a letter to his fellow senators saying that the "Allegations . . . are very serious . . . and are not tolerated," and that "further action may be taken as deemed necessary."

This is not Marlatt's first brush with the law. Three years ago, he was arrested for being in control of a vehicle while intoxicated. After he pleaded no contest, his case was dismissed after a Woodward County sheriff's deputy reported finding him asleep in his running pickup truck on a country road. The Oklahoman newspaper reported Marlatt received a deferred sentence after pleading no contest, and the case against him was later dismissed.

He is the third GOP senator in Oklahoma this year to be accused of sexual misconduct. A Tulsa senator resigned earlier this year due to charges of sexually harassing former legislative assistants, and resigned after charges of soliciting sex from a teenage boy.

Source: Huron Daily Tribune, "Lawyer: Oklahoma lawmaker 'shocked' by assault complaint," Sean Murphey, Associated Press, July 06, 2017

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