Oklahoma state senator charged after being found with teen boy in motel room


Update 3/16: Oklahoma State Senator Ralph Shortey (R-District 44) is charged with engaging in child prostitution, prostitution within 100 feet of a church and transporting a minor for prostitution.

Lt. Governor Todd Lamb released a statement about the charges against Shortey.

“Oklahoman’s 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.”

Original story: An investigation is underway after an Oklahoma legislator was found with a teenage boy in a motel room, according to multiple reports.

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State Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-District 44, was found earlier this month in a room alone with a 16- or 17-year-old boy at the Super 8 Motel in Moore, KFOR reported.

The age of consent in Oklahoma is 16. Shortey is 35.

Though formal charges have not been filed, Moore police said they are investigating the allegations.

Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn told KFOR that the boy's family called police after seeing text messages between him and Shortey. Police found the pair together while conducting a welfare check March 9 at the Moore Super 8.

State Democrats on Tuesday called for Shortey to suspend himself as the investigation continues.

"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," Oklahoma Democratic Party chair Mark Hammons said in a statement. "This is far too embarrassing to have him speak, vote or represent Oklahoma on any issue."

Freedom Oklahoma, a nonprofit LGBTQ rights organization, said in a statement that the case is "not a gay issue."

"These accusations are of child abuse and pedophilia," Freedom Oklahoma executive director Troy Stevenson said. "This is not the first time that an anti-LGBTQ legislator has proven to have a deep, dark secret of their own. We will wait for the investigation to be completed before commenting on the charges, but right now our thoughts and prayers are with the young man who appears to be the victim in this situation." 

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.


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