MOORE, Okla. – We’re learning more about the case against a former state senator who pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking charges last year.
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.
“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.
On Tuesday, officials with the Moore Police Department released the video of Shortey’s interrogation from March.
When asked about the incident at the motel, Shortey told officers that he had just been talking with the teen, who he believed was 20-years-old.
“We were inside talking, and, you know, we hear banging on the door. Obviously, didn’t know who it was; couldn’t see through the peephole. And so the young man I was with, I know, he’s come to the coffee shop a couple of times, come to my house to play video games before. Had no idea, told me when I first met him that he was 20. So when they first got there, I didn’t know what the issue was. Didn’t know if it was somebody trying to get in or what,” he said.
Shortey said that officials with the sheriff’s office told him that there was a minor in the room, which he says is when he asked the teen if he was underage.
He claimed that he met the teen through the coffee shop that he owns, and learned that he had dropped out of high school.
“When we first met, I was trying to help him study and get his GED,” Shortey said on the tape.
Shortey told detectives that the young man was supposed to take a test for his GED the next day, and had asked him to come pick him up.
“The night that he called me, he just said that he needed to get out of his house. I’m assuming, I thought that he’d told me that he lived with some friends and he had told me in the past that it was hard for him to get clean because he was always with his friends, living with them. So when he called and said that he needed to get out of there, that he had a test the next day, then the choice was bring him over to my house, which I don’t think my wife would have appreciated that. She probably would have been OK with it, but I just figured it’d be easier just to get him another place. And we just decided to talk,” Shortey said.
However, officials with the Moore Police Department weren’t buying his story.
The teen’s Kindle tablet revealed the boy had told the man who went by the name of ‘Jamie Tilley’ that he needed money for spring break, to which the adult, believed to be Shortey, responded, “Would you be interested in ‘sexual’ stuff?”
Shortey told police that he usually contacted the teen through phone calls, and he denied knowing what the Kik app was.
When confronted with the messages on the app and witness statements, Shortey continued to deny the accusations.
“There was no sexual intentions that night,” Shortey said.
The detectives then told Shortey that the teenager told them that they met through a casual encounters Craigslist ad.
“We both know what the truth is, and you’re not telling the truth,” detectives said.
Shortey continued to deny knowing anything about the messages or the app.
“Ralph that’s a lie. That’s clearly you,” detectives said.
Shortey also denied that they had been smoking marijuana before police arrived at the motel room.
“He says when the police knocked on the door, that y’all were both smoking marijuana. He says he brought a gram and you brought a gram, you guys rolled a huge blunt and that you guys were planning on messing around, it just hadn’t got there yet,” the detective said.
Despite the evidence in the case, Shortey continued to deny everything.
“Everything I’m telling you, I can prove without a shadow of a doubt. That’s why we’re sitting here so strongly telling you that you’re lying. Because we can prove that the Jamie Tilley ID, we can prove that identity is you. Amazing things that we can do with electronics,” one detective said.
“It doesn’t sound like anything I say is gonna help,” Shortey said.
Before ending the interrogation, Shortey asked just how many conversations they had between Tilley and the teenager.
“We’re taking everything off of the two devices that we have of his, we’re taking all that stuff off. Our guy is going through that one-by-one and sending us different IP addresses to look at,” the detective said.
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.
Shortey ultimately pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking in exchange for the other charges to be dropped.