In March of this year, former Oklahoma GOP state Senator Ralph Shortey made headlines when he was charged with child sex trafficking after being caught in a hotel room with an underage boy. KFOR reported at the time that Shortey was charged with engaging in child prostitution, engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church, and transporting a minor for prostitution.
This Saturday, The Hill reported that Shortey’s lawyers will be entering a guilty plea to avoid three charges related to child pornography,which would have brought him a much harsher sentence. On the trafficking charge alone, Shortey faces a minimum of 10-years to life in prison.
“It is in my best interest and in the best interest of my family,” Shortey said in a statement related to the plea deal.
According to the Moore Police Department, police went to “check on a juvenile at the Super 8 Motel in Moore last Thursday.” When they found Shortey and the juvenile, who is 17, there was allegedly a “strong smell of marijuana” and an open box condoms in the juvenile’s bag. Shortey claimed he had simply gone to the hotel to “hang out with a friend.”
Police say the juvenile’s parents said he has a history of soliciting himself online. KFOR reported that communication records show the teen told Shortey that he needed money for spring break, to which Shortey allegedly responded, “would you be interested in ‘sexual’ stuff?” When the teen replied, “yes,” a meeting between the two was arranged.
In the wake of Shortey’s arrest, LGBT advocacy groups pointed out his support for anti-LGBT legislation such as a proposed “bathroom bill” from last year.
The Norman Transcript reported:
These stigmatizing bills create fear, bias, and discrimination against the LGBTQ community even when they fail. We find it highly ironic that Senator Shortey voted to advance this legislation out of committee, and less than a year later, he was caught in what appears to be actual predatory behavior toward a vulnerable youth.
Featured image via tulsaworld.com