Shortey turns himself in on child prostitution complaints

State Sen. Ralph Shortey turned himself in to the Cleveland County Detention Center March 16 on complaints of child prostitution. (Cleveland County Sheriff's Office)

Officials in Cleveland County have filed charges against Oklahoma State Senator Ralph Shortey after he was found in a hotel room with an underage boy.

The state filed three charges against 35-year-old Shortey, including Engaging in Child Prostitution, Engaging in Prostitution within 1000 feet of a church and Transporting a Minor for Prostitution/Lewdness. All three charges are felonies. Shortly after noon March 16, Shortey turned himself in to the Cleveland County Detention Center, hours later he was released on bond.

According to court records, On March 9, Moore police made contact with Shortey at the Super 8 Hotel on N. I-35 Service Road. Shortey was inside the hotel room alone with a 17-year-old male.

Officers smelled a strong odor of marijuana in the room and found a container with a small amount of the drug inside. Police also found an open box of condoms and a bottle of lotion in Shortey's backpack inside the room.

Court documents show officers learned of a conversation between Shortey and the juvenile on the messaging app "Kik". Police determined Shortey used the alias "Jamie Tilley" and the username "Brinokc4u" during the conversation.

Police say the juvenile told Shortey he needed money for spring break. Shortey replied he didn't have any things he needed help with at the moment, then asked "would you be interested in 'sexual' stuff?" The juvenile responded yes and the two continued discussing how and where they'd meet.

According to messages obtained by police, Shortey picked the juvenile at approximately 12:13 a.m. Police say witnesses observed the juvenile enter a white Jeep Cherokee. The same witnessed followed the Cherokee to the Circle K convenience store on SE 4th St. and then to the Super 8 Hotel.

The juvenile informed police he knew Shorty for around a year, and the pair met through a Craigslist personal encounter ad.

The Oklahoma Senate also voted 43-0 Wednesday to suspend Shortey for 'disorderly behavior'. As part of the suspension, Shortey is removed from his assigned committees, his name is removed from bills and he is ordered to return custody of his state-owned laptop. He is also no longer allowed to occupy his office at the State Capitol and cannot sponsor any Senate Pages. All pages under his sponsorship have been transferred to the President Pro Tempore. Shortey will still be allowed to vote and will still be paid during the investigation.

Several Oklahoma lawmakers have called for Shortey to resign his seat, including Governor Mary Fallin.

"Shortey should resign his seat in the Senate. The charges against him do no reflect the character and decorum that we expect of an elected official. It is not acceptable. In the meantime, there's a criminal justice system in place to review the allegations. We should respect the process and allow it to work as designed," Gov. Fallin said.

Senator James Lankford called the charges against Shortey "disturbing and painful".

"Senator Lankford Lankford believes the State Senate was right to suspend him during the investigation," Aly Beley, spokesperson for Senator Lankford's office said.

Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb said that Shortey has failed to achieve a minimum standard and has "rightfully lost his senate privileges".

"In light of the charges filed against him, Ralph Shortey should resign from his seat so the good people of southwest Oklahoma City can move forward with electing a new state Senator," Lamb said in a statement.

Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz notified Shortey asking for his resignation Thursday.

Oklahoma County GOP Chairmen Daren Ward also called for Shortey's resignation.

“The charges and facts brought forward by Moore Police and the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office have made it clear that Sen. Shortey is unfit to serve while facing these horrific allegations,” Ward said.

A court date has yet to be set.

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