Oklahoma state senator charged in child prostitution case
Child prostitution charges were filed Thursday against an Oklahoma state senator who police say was found with a teenage boy in a motel room in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore, according to a local prosecutor.
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.
An arrest warrant has been issued.
Police in Moore have said they’re still investigating the circumstances surrounding a March 9 incident involving Shortey and a teenager. Police did not immediately return a phone call for further comment.
Police released a heavily redacted report that said a juvenile boy was found in a motel room with an adult male on March 9. The names of those in the room and the boy’s age are redacted in the report.
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Senate imposed sanctions Wednesday on Shortey, voting 43-0 for a resolution that accuses him of “disorderly behavior.” Among other things, it removes Shortey from membership and leadership of various Senate committees, bars him from occupying his office and reserved parking spot at the Capitol, blocks his expense allowances and authorship of bills, and revokes his right to have an executive assistant.
Senate officials said Shortey will still receive his $38,400 annual salary as a senator and will be allowed to vote.
Shortey, who was not present in the Senate chamber when the resolution was adopted without opposition, was also not in his Capitol office Wednesday and has not responded to requests for comment.
The resolution by Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz, a Republican from Altus, was co-sponsored by 44 of the Senate’s 48 senators. In a statement following its passage, Schulz said it was not intended to be “a presumption of guilt or innocence.”
“The Oklahoma Senate has full faith that the judicial system will play out appropriately and bring this matter to a lawful conclusion,” Schulz said. “This resolution reserves the right of the Oklahoma Senate to pursue further action if more facts come to light.”
The chair of the Oklahoma Republican Party, Pam Pollard, released a statement Wednesday condemning Shortey and alleging he is being investigated for a sex crime.
“No person, particularly a child, should be subjected to sex crimes,” Pollard’s statement said. “While we believe in the right to a fair trial and that all people deserve their day in court, the accusations against Ralph Shortey are in no way in line with the principles of the Oklahoma Republican Party.”
Shortey was the state chair of President Trump’s campaign during the primary elections.
The Associated Press contributed to this report