State Senator Accused Of Soliciting Prostitution With A Minor

Wednesday, March 15th 2017, 11:01 pm
By: News 9

A state senator embroiled in a scandal involving a teenage boy was punished Wednesday by fellow lawmakers at the Capitol. 

The Oklahoma Senate unanimously passed a resolution to “impose punishment” on Sen. Ralph Shortey, 35, in light of a Moore police investigation into an alleged incident with a minor.

Shortly after the resolution passed at the state Capitol, Moore police turned over a report to prosecutors, recommending charges be filed against the state senator.

The Cleveland County District Attorney's office said it is reviewing the case and anticipate charges to be filed Thursday.

News 9 obtained the incident report of the welfare check on March 9 at the Super 8 Motel in Moore that has prompted the investigation.

Just after midnight, officers knocked on the door and threatened to open it with a key from the manager when a man refused to answer the door. Officers noted they could smell raw marijuana coming from the room.

Eventually, a man, whose name was redacted from the report, answered the door.

According to the report, officers found condoms, lotion, and a teenage boy in the room with the man.

The man told officers he was just hanging out with a friend, the report states.

The child's father had greater concerns. The report stated he called police, worried that his son was in the room with an adult, and that his son has a history of drug use and soliciting sex on Craigslist.

Upon further investigation, officers found an online conversation the two had allegedly exchanged.

According to the report, the boy asked for money for spring break. 

A screen name, believed to be Shortey, replied, "I don't really have any legitimate things I need help with right now. Would you be interested in 'sexual' stuff?"

The reports indicated the two texted for about a year. 

District Attorney Greg Mashburn confirmed Tuesday to News 9 that Shortey is under investigation for an alleged incident that happened on March 9 involving a teenage boy at a motel in Moore.

"I was shocked to hear the news about Sen. Ralph Shortey," said Oklahoma Boys State Director Clay Ballenger.

Ballenger confirmed Shortey served as a counselor in the program for six years. 

During that time, he had access to high school seniors, but Ballenger assured News 9 the victim is not anyone who has participated in the program. He added the age of the victim is younger than the Boys State participants.

"We have very strict rules and procedures in place so they are protected and no staff member would ever be alone with the young men at Boys State," Ballenger said all staff undergo background checks before they are hired each year.

In light of the allegations, Oklahoma Boys State severed its ties with Shortey.

News 9 also confirmed Shortey worked with the YMCA Youth and Government Judicial program.

The YMCA spokeswoman Brenda Bennett issued a statement about its former volunteer coordinator. 

We are aware of what has been reported about Senator Shortey, our Youth and Government judicial program volunteer coordinator. Senator Shortey has voluntarily removed himself from the program pending the outcome of the investigation. We will await to see how this case progresses before determining next steps.

It remains unclear how Shortey met the teenage boy.

After multiple phone calls and text messages from News 9, Shortey has not responded to comment.

He was not arrested on March 9 at the motel or since. At last check, no formal charges have been filed.