Oklahoma state Sen. Ralph Shortey (R), who headed President Donald Trump‘s 2016 campaign in Oklahoma during the Republican primaries, has been charged with three felony counts after being found at a Super 8 Motel with an underage boy.
KOCO 5 News reports the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office has charged Shortey with “engaging in child prostitution, engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church, and transporting [a] minor for prostitution.” The Oklahoma age of consent is 16, meaning there is at least a 20-year age gap between the 35-year-old senator and the underage teen.
After police obtained a search warrant to investigate Shortey’s behavior, police reportedly found online conversations featuring the underage teen and the accused lawmaker, in which sexual activities were offered in exchange for money. The messages, which were found on the teenager’s Kindle Fire tablet, later led to the charges against the Oklahoma senator.
Police investigations began shortly after Shortey reserved a room with two beds on March 9, shortly after midnight. Thirty minutes later, police were called for a welfare check on the teenage boy, and officers found Shortey in the motel room with the teen, although police did not find any sexual activity going on at the time. Police then began investigating text messages sent between Shortey and the teen, which led to the charges.
The Daily News reports that the Oklahoma State Senate stripped Shortey of his committee memberships, removed his office in Oklahoma City, and made him return his state-issued computer. Before charges were filed, Oklahoma Democrats and Republicans took the investigation seriously, with Oklahoma Democrats calling for Shortey to suspend his role in political office before any official charges were revealed.
“While a final resolution should await completion of the police investigation, Sen. Ralph Shortey owes it to his constituents and all taxpayers to suspend himself from all official activities,” Democrat chair Mark Hammons stated, according to Pink News. “This is far too embarrassing to have him speak, vote, or represent Oklahoma on any issue.”
H/T KOCO 5 News