MOORE, OK — A Republican state senator from Oklahoma is facing prostitution charges after he was caught in a motel room with a 17-year-old boy. Senator Ralph Shortey offered the teen money in exchange for “‘sexual’ stuff,” authorities said.
On Thursday, Shortey was charged with three felonies: soliciting the prostitution of a minor, transportation for the purpose of prostitution, and prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church.
Authorities said the two met through an online personal ad about a year ago and had been texting on Kik, a messaging app, ever since. Shortey and the teen allegedly exchanged messages about meeting on March 9. The teen, identified in the affidavit as J.M., told the 35-year-old Shortey that he needed money for spring break, and asked if he could do anything for the man for cash.
“I don’t really have any legitimate things I need help with right now,” Shortey wrote, the affidavit says. “Would you be interested in ‘sexual’ stuff?”
“Yes,” the teen responded.
A witness saw Shortey pick up the teen in his white Jeep Cherokee, the affidavit says, and followed the pair to a Super 8 motel. Shortey initially denied that an underage teenager was with him after officers knocked on the motel-room door, according to a redacted police report.
Once in the room, police found a container labeled “Colorado Retail Marijuana,” and both Shortey and the teen admitted to police that they had brought the weed to their meeting.
The allegations prompted Republican leaders in the state, including the governor, to call for Shortey’s resignation, and the Oklahoma Senate has moved quickly to sanction the two-term senator.
Shortey turned himself in at the Cleveland County Jail on Thursday and has been released on a $100,000 bond.
Main photo: Senator Ralph Shortey [Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office]