OKLAHOMA CITY – A recent court filing by federal prosecutors said a former Oklahoma state senator enticed a teen boy with sex with the man’s wife and groomed the victim for more than a year, as well as exchanged sex for drugs on at least two occasions.
Prosecutors filed a sentencing memorandum late last week ahead of the sentencing of former Republican State Senator Ralph Shortey.
Shortey, 36, pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking last year. A sentencing date has not yet been set.
Shortey, a husband and father of four girls who represented a portion of Oklahoma City’s south side, was found in a Moore motel room with a 17-year-old boy in March 2017.
The then-seated senator was charged with state child prostitution charges and later indicted on federal child sex crimes.
In last week’s filing, prosecutors argue Shortey influenced the teen after first meeting in February 2016 on a social media application, offering the teen to “‘play around with his wife’ while Mr. Shortey watched,” according to court documents, and that Shortey “groomed” the teen for a year and “normalized the concept of selling Doe’s body for drugs or money,” exchanging drugs for sex at least twice.
During interviews with Moore police, interrogation videos showed Shortey denied the March motel room rendezvous was sex-related.
“You show up with condoms, he shows up with lotion,” said one of the investigators to Shortey. “Yeah, there were condoms in your bag. The cops saw them.”
“That’s absolutely not true,” Shortey said. “I did not show up there for any sexual thing.”
Federal prosecutors said the use of the victim’s previous sexual history in the presentence report is “irrelevant” and that monetizing sex acts of a child “cannot be consensual” under federal child sex trafficking law.
Additionally, prosecutors argued the conclusion of the report, that Shortey’s offense of “child sex trafficking is not rape,” is “wrong” and the focus at sentencing should not be on “the child victim’s purported willingness” but on Shortey’s acts and influence as a successful businessman and prominent state senator.