Oklahoma state senator charged with felony prostitution

Posted March 17, 2017

Oklahoma prosecutors have filed child prostitution charges against a Republican state senator after police found him in a hotel room a 17-year-old boy.

The NY Daily News reports Shortey - who was "a leader in President Trump's Oklahoma primary campaign" - is now being charged with "soliciting a minor for prostitution, prostitution within 1000 feet of a church and transporting someone for prostitution".

Moore Police say they were called shortly before 1 a.m.to a room at the Super 8 Motel, located at 1520 N. Service Road in Moore, to conduct a welfare check. Police say they came across a text on one of the teen's devices that indicated the boy was looking to make money for spring break, to which they believe Shortey, using a screen name, responded, "Would you be interested in "sexual" stuff?"

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

On Wednesday, the state Senate stripped Shortey of his leadership positions, his office space and other privileges. Authorities are referring to him as a juvenile, although the age of consent in Oklahoma is 16. Shortey's room, Shortey said "he was just there to hang out with his friend".

The alleged underage prostitute told police he offered Shortey, 35, sexual services for money when they chatted on Instagram and Kik. 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.

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Shortey could not be reached for comment Thursday. The resolution punishes Shortey for 'disorderly behavior'. In a statement following its passage, Schulz said it was not meant to be "a presumption of guilt or innocence".

Their text messages, going back almost a year, were recorded on the teenager's Kindle tablet that was confiscated as evidence, police said.

The Oklahoman's Nolan Clay reports that Cleveland County district attorney Greg Mashburn is awaiting an investigator's final report before making a decision about pressing charges.

In a statement, Oklahoma GOP Chairperson Pam Pollard said: "We condemn the actions of Senator Ralph Shortey to the strongest degree".

The senator rented the room for one night on March 8, and the front-desk manager said two adults were registered in the room.