Former State Senator Shortey indicted on counts of child pornography, sex trafficking

Ralph Shortey. (Cleveland County Jail)

A former state senator accused of engaging in child prostitution was hit with federal charges Wednesday.

The US Attorney's Office reports Ralph Shortey appeared in federal court for the unsealing of an indictment of two counts of transporting child pornography, one count of producing child pornography and one count of sex trafficking. The new federal charges stem from an FBI search of his house. The US Attorney's Office reports that state charges, filed in Cleveland County, will be dropped in lieu of the federal charges.

The unsealed documents allege that Shortey used his smartphone and an email to send videos which depicted a man engaging in sexual acts with a young girl. The second count claims he sent a video showing young boys engaging in sex acts to a different person via the internet.

Shortey allegedly advertised on Craigslist that he wanted to watch an underage male perform a sex act with a woman and record it. The producing child pornography count claims that Shortey persuaded a minor via the social media app Kik to send him an image of the young man's penis.

Shortey faces mandatory sentences for the counts. The child pornography counts carry a minimum of five years, production of child pornography has a minimum of 15 years and the sex trafficking count carries a minimum of 10 years.

Shortey was charged in March in Cleveland County court with Engaging in Child Prostitution, Engaging in Prostitution within 1000 feet of a church and Transporting a Minor for Prostitution/Lewdness. The charges came after the then state senator was found in a metro hotel room with an underage boy. He resigned from his position shortly after being charged.

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.

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