OKLAHOMA CITY — A Republican state senator from Oklahoma is accused of forcefully grabbing an Uber driver and kissing her neck while she drove him to a hotel, a law enforcement official confirmed Thursday.
The driver reported the incident to Oklahoma City police June 28, two days after she says it happened, by flagging down a police officer at a convenience store a few blocks from the state Capitol.
Names are redacted from the police report, but a person in the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s office familiar with the case told The Associated Press that the accused is state Sen. Bryce Marlatt of Woodward. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.
Marlatt, 40, and his attorney, Robert Don Gifford, didn’t immediately return telephone messages from the AP.
Marlatt has not been arrested or charged, and police spokesman Sgt. Gary Knight said detectives are still investigating the incident.
Marlatt, a married father of four, told The Woodward News he was “shocked” at the allegations. “We immediately reached out to Uber in an effort to get to the bottom of these allegations,” he told the newspaper.
Uber says it is cooperating with police.
Marlatt was arrested in 2014 and charged with a misdemeanor count of being in control of his vehicle while intoxicated 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. His attorney in that case said Marlatt had taken a prescription sleep aid and had an alcoholic drink, but stopped driving when he became concerned about the effects.
Marlatt is the third Republican Oklahoma legislator to face allegations of sexual misconduct this year. State Rep. Dan Kirby of Tulsa resigned in February after being accused of sexually harassing two former legislative assistants, and Sen. Ralph Shortey of Oklahoma City stepped down in March after being charged with child prostitution after prosecutors say he solicited sex from a 17-year-old boy.
The chairman of the Senate Energy Committee, Marlatt was first elected in 2008 and easily won re-election in 2016 to a third term in office with more than 70 percent of the vote in the GOP primary.