Republican Who Pushed ‘Family Values’ Pleads Guilty To Child Sex Trafficking Charge
Former Oklahoma state Sen. Ralph Shortey, a Republican, has pleaded guilty to a child sex trafficking charge, several news outlets reported Sunday.
Shortey, a devout Christian who boasted about his “family values,” had been accused of offering to pay a 17-year-old boy for “‘sexual’ stuff” earlier this year. Federal prosecutors will drop three additional child pornography charges against him in exchange for his guilty plea.
“By pleading guilty, Shortey is hoping to receive a lighter sentence. Child sex trafficking carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison, and a maximum sentence of life in prison. U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti will sentence Shortey next year.
Shortey resigned from his office on March 22, two weeks after being found in a motel room with a 17-year-old boy. He was first elected to the Oklahoma state Senate in 2010.
According to The Oklahoman, Shortey and the victim had first met on Craigslist a year earlier. According to the Oklahoman, the two carried on conversations via the messaging app Kik before going to the motel.
The teenager had told the state senator that he needed “money for spring break,” to which Shortey replied: “I don’t really have any legitimate things I need help with right now. Would you be interested in ‘sexual’ stuff?”
The teenager responded “yes.”
Officers reportedly found an open box of condoms in Shortey’s backpack, as well as a bottle of lotion in the victim’s backpack when they were found at the motel in March. The teenager confirmed to police that they intended to have a sexual encounter, the Oklahoman reports.