- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 16, 2017

Prosecutors in Oklahoma issued an arrest warrant for Republican state Sen. Ralph Shortey on Thursday after investigators said he solicited sex from a teenage boy.

Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn charged Mr. Shortey with three felony counts Thursday in connection with an investigation launched after authorities found the state senator inside a Moore, Oklahoma, motel room last week with an 17-year-old male.

Mr. Shortey, 35, has been charged with engaging in child prostitution, engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church and transporting a minor for prostitution, the district attorney’s office said Thursday.

A warrant has been issued for his arrest, local media reported, but the lawmaker’s whereabouts Thursday afternoon were not immediately known.

Thursday’s indictment was handed down a day after authorities released documents related to an incident that allegedly occurred in a Super 8 motel room last week involving the lawmaker and the unidentified teenager.

Police officers were in the process of searching the motel for the teen on March 9 when they smelled a “strong odor of raw marijuana” coming from Room 120, the documents allege. Authorities entered the room soon after and found the teenager with an adult male later confirmed by the district attorney to be Mr. Shortey.

Law enforcement said the state senator and the teenager both told police afterwards that they had engaged in conversations “pertaining to sexual activities in exchange for money,” and claim their assertion is supported by text messages recovered from the teen’s tablet.

The teen told a person believed to be Mr. Shortey that he needed money for spring break, according to an incident report. Authorities say the lawmaker responded: “I don’t really have any legitimate things I need help right now. Would you be interested in ‘sexual’ stuff?”

Police said an “open box of condoms” was found during a search of the motel room. The teen’s parents told investigators their son “has a history of soliciting himself on Craigslist for sexual conduct,” documents allege.

The Oklahoma State Senate unanimously voted to suspend Mr. Shortey for “disorderly behavior” on Wednesday prior to his indictment. Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb praised the reprimand afterward and insisted on Mr. Shortey’s resignation. 

“Oklahomans 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,” Mr. Lamb said. “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.”

Mr. Shortey has not commented publicly on allegations.

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