Former Oklahoma state Sen. Ralph Shortey, a Republican, has agreed to plead guilty to child sex trafficking in exchange for three counts of child pornography being dropped against him, local media reported this weekend.
That means he will serve a minimum of 10 years in prison, and likely longer, The Oklahoman reported. He will formally plead guilty on Nov. 30 and face sentencing next year.
Shortey, 35, had served in the state Senate since 2010. Last March, he was arrested at a Super 8 hotel and charged with soliciting sex from a 17–year–old boy. The former state senator is married and has four daughters, the newspaper said, citing defense attorney Ed Blau.
According to The Oklahoman, the boy’s girlfriend followed the two to the hotel and called the victim’s father, who called police.
Evidence of the planned encounter was logged in a messaging app in which Shortey promised the teenager money in exchange for “sexual stuff.”
The newspaper describes an FBI investigation into the former politician’s “secret life”:
The investigation of Shortey uncovered evidence he had led a secret life. The FBI reported he used fake names to post Craigslist ads seeking sex with young males and on an email account to send and receive pornography.
“Shortey used those pseudonyms almost exclusively for illicit and illegal sexual interests or encounters, several of which included communications and exchanges of pornography with underage males, and/or the sharing of child pornography,” the FBI agent wrote in the court affidavit.
In a story published last September, The Oklahoman’s Nolan Clay reported that the FBI had searched Shortey’s Capitol office after a campaign aide allegedly discovered child porn on the lawmaker’s computer.
A federal grand jury indicted Shortey that same month on several counts of human trafficking and child pornography. Shortey’s forthcoming guilty plea means he will avoid a jury trial that had been planned for early next month.