Child prostitution charges were filed on Thursday against an Oklahoma Republican state senator who was found with a teenage boy in a motel room.
Republican Sen. Ralph Shortey of Oklahoma City was charged with engaging in child prostitution, transporting a minor for prostitution and engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church.
During the arrest, Shortey attempted to convince police that he was just “hanging out with a friend”, but after seizing his smartphone, evidence was found of him texting children and offering them money in return for “sexual stuff”.
Cleveland County prosecutors charged 35-year-old Shortey with engaging in child prostitution, transporting a minor for prostitution and engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of church.
Shortey agreed to plead guilty to the child sex trafficking offences in exchange for U.S. prosecutors dropping three additional child pornography counts against him.
Newsok.com reports: His jury trial had been set to begin Dec. 5 in Oklahoma City federal court. He is now scheduled to plead guilty Nov. 30 instead.
By making a deal, Shortey, 35, hopes to avoid being locked up for most of the rest of his life. Still, he will be required to serve at least a 10-year prison term, the mandatory minimum time for child sex trafficking.
The maximum time for the offense is life in prison. U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti will decide the punishment at a sentencing next year.
“It is in my best interest and in the best interest of my family,” Shortey wrote on plea paperwork signed Monday. He remains married to his high school sweetheart, his defense attorney said. They have four daughters.
The defense attorney, Ed Blau, negotiated the plea agreement for Shortey after reviewing the evidence and applicable case law.
Shortey and the victim had first met through Craigslist a year earlier. According to the Oklahoman, the two carried on conversations via the messaging app Kik before going to the motel.
Police said 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,” according to police.
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, according to the Oklahoman.
This is not a question of which party you represent President Trump must drain the swamp immediately!
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