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Former state senator pleads guilty to child sex trafficking charge

Ralph Shortey. (Cleveland County Jail)

(AP) -- A former Oklahoma state senator accused of engaging in child prostitution and pornography has pleaded guilty to a federal charge of child sex trafficking.

Former two-term Republican state Sen. Ralph Shortey pleaded guilty Thursday before U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti in exchange for federal prosecutors dropping three child pornography charges against him.

Shortey resigned in March after he was arrested on state charges of engaging in child prostitution and transporting a minor for prostitution. Police found Shortey with a 17-year-old boy in a motel room and alleged he had hired the boy for sex.

A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment against Shortey in September. The state charges were dismissed following the federal indictment.

Shortey faces up to life in prison and a $250,000 fine for child sex trafficking.

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