Ralph Shortey claimed that illegal immigrants were notorious for human trafficking, back when the Oklahoma Republican was a state campaign manager for Donald Trump.
Now Shortey is headed to prison — for child sex trafficking charges after he was caught in a hotel room with an underage boy.
The former state Senator pleaded guilty this week to the charges which stemmed from a March 9 arrest. A report from The Oklahoman noted that Shortey admitted to paying the 17-year-old for “sexual” stuff when the two were caught together. He was also facing three charges of child pornography, but federal prosecutors agreed to drop those charges in exchange for his guilty plea.
The report noted that Shortey had been in contact with the teen prior to the meeting, and the teen said he needed money for spring break. Shortey answered that he did not have any work for the boy, but asked if he would be interested in being paid for “sexual” stuff.
Shortey will now be required to serve a 10-year prison term, the mandatory minimum for child sex trafficking charges. He could still face up to life in prison.
The report noted that federal investigators uncovered an extensive secret life of Ralph Shortey, including using fake names to set up ads on Craigslist seeking sex with young men.
“Shortey used those pseudonyms almost exclusively for illicit and illegal sexual interests or encounters, several of which included communications and exchanges of pornography with underage males, and/or the sharing of child pornography,” the FBI noted in a court affidavit.
The child pornography charges stemmed from two separate incidents, the report noted. One took place in 2016 and involved the victim from the March incident, and the other two stemmed from Shortey’s emailing sexually explicit videos two separate times in October 2013.
Though the Oklahoma Republican did not have national recognition as part of Trump’s campaign, Shortey’s sentence drew quite a bit of attention. The left-leaning outlet ShareBlue published a story about his crime and the previous statements accusing illegal immigrants of human trafficking.
“When you incentivize illegal immigration, you incentivize a lot of bad things,” Shortey told KFOR during the 2016 campaign.
“There’s a trail of death from Honduras to the United States of America, and the families are giving their children and others over to coyotes and to human traffickers.”
Ralph Shortey, state senator charged with child prostitution, plans to resign, lawyer says https://t.co/UCIMhBOrSn— lee oack (@OackLee) November 19, 2017
Ralph Shortey was considered a hard-line Republican who sometimes earned national recognition for his strange legislation, including a 2012 bill that would have banned aborted fetuses in food products. As The Huffington Post noted at the time, Shortey said he was inspired to write the bill after reading an article online about an anti-abortion group boycotting companies that allegedly used embryonic stem cells in the development of artificial sweeteners — which there was no evidence of ever happening.
Ralph Shortey has announced plans to resign his seat in the Oklahoma state Senate after his conviction.
[Featured Image by Chris Ryan/iStock]