Oklahoma Lawmaker Charged With Multiple Child Prostitution Felonies

Mar 16, 2017

Oklahoma prosecutors have filed child prostitution charges against a Republican state senator after police found him in a hotel room a 17-year-old boy.

Cleveland County prosecutors charged 35-year-old Ralph Shortey on Thursday with engaging in child prostitution, transporting a minor for prostitution and engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of church.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Shortey. He has until noon Thursday to turn himself in.

Moore police say that acting on a tip from the teen's father, they went to the Super 8 Hotel last week and smelled marijuana coming from a room. They found Shortey and the teen alone inside.

Shortey has not replied to several phone messages seeking comment, and court records don't show if he has an attorney.

Below are the charges and affidavit from the Cleveland County District Attorney. (Warning: information in the affidavit is graphic.)

The Oklahoma Senate stripped Shortey of nearly all of his privileges as a lawmaker on Wednesday.

A conservative Republican from south Oklahoma City, Shortey was a county coordinator and early supporter of Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

Shortey made national headlines in 2012 for a bill prohibiting 'the manufacture or sale of food or products which use aborted human fetuses.'

Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb is calling on Shortey to resign from the Senate.

Oklahoman’s (sic) deserve to be represented by those above reproach. Ralph Shortey has clearly failed to achieve this minimum standard and had rightfully lost his senate privileges. As a former law enforcement official, I commend the swift actions of the Moore Police Department and the Cleveland County District Attorney's office. In light of the charges filed against him, Ralph Shortey should resign from his seat so the good people of southwest Oklahoma City can move forward with electing a new state Senator.

Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz has requested Shortey's immediate resignation.

"In light of the criminal charges filed against you today, I respectfully request on behalf of the Oklahoma State Senate your immediate resignation as Senator of District 44."

Oklahoma County GOP Chairman Daren Ward is also calling for Shortey's immediate resignation.

“The charges and facts brought forward by Moore Police and the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office have made it clear that Sen. Shortey is unfit to serve while facing these horrific allegations. To continue to serve under these circumstances not only brings shame and controversy to our party, but leaves the people of Senate District 44 without an appropriate voice in state government. We ask that he take immediate action and resign. The Oklahoma County GOP condemns any and all abuse of children and those who solicit and patronize the victimizing act of prostitution. We pray for all those involved who are suffering due to this incident and that the courts bring swift justice and closure.”

The Oklahoma State Senate Democrat caucus also issued a statement calling for Shortey's immediate resignation.

"Remaining a member of the Senate is not an option for Sen. Shortey. His constituents deserve a senator focused on the needs and concerns of southwest Oklahoma City. Given the gravity of these events, Sen. Shortey will clearly not be able to do that."