Sentencing set for former Oklahoma senator convicted of child sex trafficking

MOORE, Okla. – The sentencing date for a former Oklahoma senator convicted of child sex trafficking has been set.

In March of 2017, 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 earlier this month, 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.

Ralph Shortey

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.

Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn filed three felony charges against Shortey, including engaging in child prostitution, engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church, and transporting a minor for prostitution.

Those charges were dismissed after Shortey was charged in federal court with two counts of transportation of child pornography, production of child pornography and child sex trafficking.

In November, Shortey pleaded guilty to to one count of child sex trafficking in exchange for his other child pornography charges to be dropped.

He was expected to be sentenced for the crime within four months, but has still not received his sentence.

On Tuesday, Shortey's attorney filed a motion for a time extension regarding the sentencing. That motion was granted, and Shortey's sentencing date is now set for Sept. 5.

The minimum punishment for the crime is 10 years in prison. He could receive a maximum sentence of life in prison.