Shortey suspended from Senate as police recommend charges
MOORE, Okla. (KOKH) —
Police have recommended charges against a State Senator who was suspended from several of his duties Wednesday.
The Moore Police Department confirmed Wednesday that have recommended charges against State Senator Ralph Shortey. The entire case has now been turned over to the Cleveland County District Attorney's Office, who is expected to file charges Thursday. The exact charges against Shortey may face have not been released at this time.
A redacted police report shows that officers arrived at the motel at 12:55 a.m. March 9. Police reports indicate the family member of a teenage boy in the room said he was a runaway with a history of "soliciting himself on Craigslist for sexual conduct". As officers approached the room, they noted a strong smell of marijuana.
Officers then knocked on the door and asked if a juvenile was in the room. One of the occupants of the room told police only one person was in the room. When police stated they would open the door with a master key, the door was opened. A juvenile then exited the room while an adult male stayed inside. Police stated they found a bottle of lotion and a box of condoms in the room after a search.
The Oklahoma Senate also voted 43-0 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.
Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz said the punishment was not a presumption of guilt or innocence.
"The Oklahoma Senate has full faith that the judicial system will play out appropriately and bring this matter to a lawful conclusion. This resolution reserves the right of the Oklahoma Senate to pursue further action if more facts come to light. It would be inappropriate to comment any further due to the pending investigation,” Schulz said.
Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Pam Pollard condemned Shortey's actions.
"While we believe in the right to a fair trial and that all people deserve their day in court, the accusations against Ralph Shortey are in no way in line with the principles of the Oklahoma Republican Party," Pollard said.
An investigation into Shortey began March 9 after Moore police responded to a welfare check at a Super 8 Motel, 1520 N. Interstate 35. At the hotel, police say they found a juvenile male and an adult male.
Sources tell FOX 25 that the adult male was Shortey and that police and the Cleveland County District Attorney are reviewing text messages between the two.
FOX 25 has reached out to Shortey for comment but he has so far not responded.
Shortey, a Republican, has been the State Senator for District 44 since 2010. The district covers portions of southwest Oklahoma City and northern Cleveland County. The YMCA of Greater Oklahoma City reports that Shortey has voluntarily removed himself as coordinator of the Youth and Government judicial program, pending the outcome of the investigation.