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State senator resigns in wake of child prostitution charges

Former District 44 State Senator, Ralph Shortey, submitted his letter of resignation to Governor Mary Fallin on Wednesday.

by E.I. Hillin

A Republican state senator resigns in the wake of child prostitution charges. Ralph Shortey, 35, is facing felony charges after police say he was soliciting a 17-year-old male for sex.  

Prosecutors charged Shortey last week with engaging in child prostitution, engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church, and transporting a minor for prostitution. The age of consent in Oklahoma is 16, but Oklahoma’s prostitution statute applies to any person under 18 years old. 

Shortey turned himself in on March 16, but was released on a $100,000 bond. The FBI and U.S. Secret Service in Oklahoma City have both confirmed they have joined the investigation into Shortey and the FBI have conducted a search of Shortey’s home. 

The state senate acted quickly to strip Shortey of most of his power, including his ability to serve on Senate committees and author bills. The Senate also took away his office, executive assistant and parking space, but Shortey remained a salaried, voting member of the state legislature until his resignation on Wednesday.  

State leaders, including Governor Mary Fallin, called on Shortey to resign. According to reports, Shortey’s attorney, Ed Blau, advised his client to resign and Shortey officially stepped down this week.  

At 12:55 a.m. on March 9, Moore police were dispatched on a welfare check of a juvenile boy. Police found Shortey and the juvenile boy alone inside a room at the Super 8 Motel, 1520 N. Service Road. According to the police report, family of the juvenile contacted the police to check on the boy.  

Police stated they smelled a strong odor of marijuana emitting from the hotel room.  An opened box of condoms and body lotion were found inside the hotel room. According to statements in the report, Shortey and the juvenile had known each other for approximately a year.    

Shortey, represents District 44, covering Oklahoma and Canadian Counties spanning between Mustang and Yukon. He has been a senate member since 2010. According to Shortey’s bio on the state senate website, Shortey married his high school sweetheart, Jennifer, in 2002 and continues to make his home in south Oklahoma City with their two children. 

Shortey graduated from West Moore High School in 2000, and following graduation he attended Heartland Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma City in preparation for mission work in Uganda.   

The conservative senator included in his personal bio, his priorities in the legislature include personal liberty, fighting illegal immigration, and strengthening public safety in Oklahoma. Shortey recently drew attention as an opponent of criminal justice reforms voted through in the last state election.

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