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Oklahoma Senate votes to impose punishment against senator under investigation

MOORE, Okla. - An Oklahoma lawmaker is facing a punishment as an investigation into an incident at a motel continues.

On March 9, Moore police were called to the Super 8 Motel in regards to a welfare check.

When they arrived, they discovered a 16 or 17-year-old boy in a room with Oklahoma Sen. Ralph Shortey.

On Tuesday, Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn told NewsChannel 4 that the boy is above the age of consent in Oklahoma.

However, police were reviewing text messages between the senator and the teen to determine if anything criminal had occurred.

At this point, we do not know what was contained in those text messages.

"The Oklahoma Republican Party takes all accusations against elected officials seriously, especially when the welfare of a minor is involved. We have reached out to Senator Shortey for comment and have not heard back from him at this time. We await the report from law enforcement on whether charges will be filed," Pam Pollard, the Chairman Oklahoma Republican Party, told NewsChannel 4 on Tuesday.

Senator Shortey has not responded to our repeated requests for comment.

On Wednesday, the Oklahoma Senate voted to impose a punishment against Sen. Shortey for "disorderly behavior."

According to the resolution, Shortey was suspended from his positions as vice-chair of the Committee of Energy, the Subcommittee on Select Agencies of the Appropriations Committee. His membership on the Committee on Retirement and Insurance, Committee on Judiciary and Committee on Appropriations were also suspended.

Sen. Shortey will also be required to return his state-owned laptop computer and other state-owned property to the Senate. He will also have to give up his office in Room 412 and his assigned parking space.

The resolution goes on to say that Shortey's name will be removed as author or coauthor of any legislation under the control of the Senate.

He will also lose all allowances for expenses related to his office and travel expenses. The resolution says all pages who were under the sponsorship of Sen. Shortey will be moved and no additional pages shall be scheduled under his sponsorship for the rest of the legislative session.

It appears that Sen. Shortey will still be paid and is allowed to vote.

Officials say the investigation is still ongoing and Shortey has not been arrested or charged with a crime.

“This is 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,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Mike Schulz, R-Altus.