By Chris Eversole
A federal judge on Monday sentenced former Oklahoma state Sen. Ralph Shortey, who formerly represented parts of Oklahoma City and the Mustang and Yukon areas, to 15 years in prison for soliciting a 17-year-old young man for sex.
U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti imposed the sentence based on the arrest by police of Shortey, 36, at a Super 8 motel in Moore.
Moore police went to the motel around 1 a.m. on March 9, 2017, to make a welfare check on the teen for the victim’s father requested.
Police said they found Shortey and the teen alone inside a room at the motel.
Police stated they smelled a strong odor of marijuana in the hotel room. An opened box of condoms and body lotion were found inside the room.
According to the police report, Shortey and the victim had known each other for approximately a year.
Shortey represented District 44 from 2010 until he resigned because of the arrest. Michael Brooks was elected to the seat in July 2017.
Shortey pleaded guilty on Nov. 30, 2017, to one count of child sex trafficking, noted a news release from the U.S. attorney’s office.
The indictment of Shortey noted that the victim contacted Shortey on March 8, 2017, via Kik, a mobile messaging app saying, that he needed money for spring break, the news release said.
Shortey replied, “I don’t really have any legitimate things I need help with right now. Would you be interested in ‘sexual’ stuff?”
After the victim responded “yes,” the Kik conversation included explicit references to sex acts, the release continued.
Just after midnight on March 9, 2017, Shortey drove the motel, where Shortey rented a room with his credit card.
Based on information from the victim’s father, Moore police knocked on the motel room door and discovered the victim with Shortey, whose backpack contained an open box of condoms, prosecutors said.
A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment against Shortey.
The indictment included three counts relating to child pornography – emailing videos of a prepubescent girl and young boys in October 2013 and producing child pornography by persuading the victim of the motel incident to send him a sexually explicit image.
As a result of a plea agreement, federal prosecutors dropped the child pornography charges.
Shortey was sentenced to 10 years of supervised release after he leaves prison.
He must pay $5,100 in special assessments and register as a sex offender. How much victim restitution, if any, will be determined later.
“Today’s sentence shows that federal law enforcement will take whatever steps are necessary to protect children from sexual exploitation, regardless of the status or position of the defendant,” said Robert J. Troester, the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Kathryn Peterson also commented.
“This investigation reinforces the message that the victimization of children will not be tolerated by law enforcement,” she said.
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.
Shortey tearfully apologized in court for “leading a double life of sin for the past few years,” the Oklahoman reported.
“I have begged God’s forgiveness, and I hope that this all is another example to everyone to live a true life and to be what you say you are,” Shortey said.