OKLAHOMA CITY – A former state senator has pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking charges on Thursday.
In March, the Moore Police Department released a redacted report containing details of an incident at a motel between then-Sen. Ralph Shortey and a 17-year-old.
When police went to check on a juvenile at the Super 8 in Moore , officers said they smelled a “strong odor of raw marijuana” coming from Room 120.
Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn confirmed that the teen was found in the motel room with Sen. Shortey. Officials say they discovered condoms in Shortey's backpack.
A Kindle tablet revealed the teen had told the adult that he needed money for spring break, to which the adult, believed to be Shortey, responded, “would you be interested in ‘sexual’ stuff?”
“He offered him money for sexual contact, he then picked up that minor and took him to a hotel for that purpose,” Susan Caswell, Cleveland County first assistant district attorney, told KFOR after charges were filed.
According to an affidavit, the teen told authorities that he and Shortey have known each other for about one year. He said they originally met last year through a Craigslist personal encounter ad.
A federal indictment that was unsealed in September shows that Shortey was charged in federal court with two counts of transportation of child pornography, production of child pornography and child sex trafficking.
The child pornography charges stem from an incident when Shortey allegedly used his smartphone and an AOL email address to email a sexually explicit video involving a prepubescent girl and another sexually explicit video involving young boys to two email addresses, according to court documents.
The child sex trafficking charge is in reference to the report from March involving the teenage boy. Court records show that the production of child pornography charge stems from another incident with the victim from the March case.
Shortey was scheduled to appear in court on Thursday afternoon.
His attorney, Ed Blau, told News 4 that Shortey would plead guilty to one count of child sex trafficking in exchange for his other counts of three child pornography charges to be dropped.
On Thursday, Shortey officially pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking.
The judge overseeing the case ruled that he will remain in custody until his sentencing, which will take place in approximately 90 days.
However, the minimum punishment for the crime is 10 years in prison. He could receive a maximum sentence of life in prison.