Prosecutors filed child prostitution charges Thursday against Oklahoma State Senator Ralph Shortey, a man they say police identified as the adult male found in a Moore, Oklahoma, motel room with a teen boy on March 9. A warrant for his arrest was then issued.
Oklahoma prosecutors charged Republican State Senator Ralph Shortey, who was elected to represent District 44, with three felony counts of prostitution-related activities, according to Fox News: engaging in child prostitution, transporting a minor for prostitution, and engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church. Police in Moore, a suburb of Oklahoma City, said that the investigation into the circumstances of the incident that occurred on March 9 is ongoing.
Shortey turned himself in to Cleveland County Authorities later on Thursday, according to KFOR in Oklahoma City.
The Associated Press reported that Moore Police released a “heavily redacted report” that revealed that an adult male and a juvenile boy had been found in a motel room together on March 9. However, the names of both occupants were among the redacted material.
Police said they had gone to the motel in response to a tip from the teen’s father, who informed them, according to Lisa Monahan of KWTV in Oklahoma City (via Crimesiders), that his son had a history of drug use and soliciting sex on Craigslist. KFOR reported that officers, as they approached the room of the Super 8 motel they had been directed to, detected a “strong odor of raw marijuana” emanating from the room.
Upon entering the motel room, Moore Police reportedly discovered the two males. A quick search in backpacks uncovered an open box of condoms and lotion. When asked what he was doing in the room, the older male told police “he was just there to hang out with his friend,” according to the police report.
The adult male was later identified as State Senator Ralph Shortey. The juvenile was found to be 17 years old.
The investigation found sexually explicit online dialogue on the teen’s tablet, including instances where Shortey allegedly referred to the teen as “baby boy” and offered cash in exchange for “sexual stuff.”
Despite the redactions in the police report, there was one portion where the teen seemed to tell his girlfriend prior to the alleged rendezvous with Shortey that “he was going to get paid tonight.”
The apparent girlfriend, according to the report, said she witnessed the two enter the motel room together.
In the state of Oklahoma, the age of consent is 16. However, the state’s child prostitution statute applies to any person under 18 years old.
Shortey is from south Oklahoma City. He is married and has three children, and, according to KFOR, has a history of social involvement with teens on a regular basis. He works with the YMCA Youth in Government program and also is a senior staffer at Boys State.
Prior to the issuance of the arrest warrant, the State Senate passed a “disorderly behavior” resolution Wednesday that stripped Shortey of his committee appointments. It was also resolved that Shortey’s name be blocked from authorizing legislation, that his Senate office was off limits, and that he no longer has an expense account or an executive assistant. He was barred from having a reserved parking space and any and all state property in his possession would have to be returned. And yet Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz said in a statement, according to Fox News, that the resolution, passed 43-0 without Shortey in attendance, was not intended as “a presumption of guilt or innocence.”
Shortey was left with the right to vote in the Senate and to retain his annual salary of $38,400.
In associated news, Ralph Shortey was the Oklahoma state chair for candidate Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.
[Featured Image by Sue Ogrocki/AP Images]