This Tuesday, an Oklahoma State Senator was charged with child prostitution after being caught in a hotel room with an underage boy.
Three felony charges were filed against Ralph Shortey by Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn. The charges include engaging in child prostitution, engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church, and transporting a minor for prostitution, according to KFOR.
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.
From The Norman Transcript:
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. …
There has never been a legitimate recorded incident in Oklahoma of a transgender person harming anyone in a restroom, yet there are numerous accounts of predatory behavior by anti-LGBTQ legislators who have taken bigoted votes akin to the vote Senator Shortey cast last year.
— Sam Newman (@SamNewman45) March 15, 2017
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 reports 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?”
In the wake of his arrest, the Oklahoma Senate voted to bar Shortey from all his work as a Senator. He is married with three children and was also the manager for Donald Trump’s campaign during the primaries.
Update: In September of 2018, Shortey was sentenced to 15 years in prison on a child sex trafficking charge. Once he is released from prison, he’ll serve 10 additional years of supervised probation. The judge said that Shortey will also have to pay a fine at a later date that could be up to $250,000.