Legislative leaders in Oklahoma want state Sen. Ralph Shortey to resign after he was accused of offering a 17-year-old boy money for “sexual stuff.”
Shortey, 35, and the teenager were found on March 9 in a room at a Super 8 motel in Moore, Okla., according to an affidavit. They allegedly met more than a year ago on Craigslist.
When officers knocked on the motel room door Shortey told them he was alone, according to a redacted police report. But when officers said they would use a master-key to enter the room, Shortey opened the door and police found the 17-year-old inside.
Police also found a container labeled “Colorado Retail Marijuana” in the room and an “open box of condoms” inside a backpack, the report said.
Shortey turned himself in at the Cleveland County Jail on Thursday and was released on a $100,000 bond. He told reporters outside the jail that he would have a comment soon.
He has been charged with three felonies: soliciting the prostitution of a minor, transportation for the purpose of prostitution, and prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church, the Associated Press reports.
The motel where they were found is near First Christian Church.
The Oklahoma senate sanctioned the two-term senator on Wednesday for “disorderly behavior.” It stripped away his committee memberships, kicked him out of his Capitol office and took away his state-issued computer, according to the New York Daily News.
His name was scraped off his office door, the locks changed and his name painted over on his parking spot, the AP reported.
His name was also removed as the author of Senate Bill 573, a proposal that would ban sanctuary cities in Oklahoma. Shorty is known for his strong stance against illegal immigration.
The state’s Republican governor, Mary Fallin, called for the conservative senator’s resignation in a statement issued Thursday. The Oklahoma Democratic Party and the Oklahoma State Senate Democrat caucus have also demanded his resignation, according to local media reports.
“Ralph Shortey should resign his seat in the Senate,” Fallin wrote. “The charges against him do not reflect the character and decorum that we expect of an elected official. It is not acceptable. In the meantime, there’s a criminal justice system in place to review the allegations. We should respect the process and allow it to work as designed.”
The affidavit shows Shortey and the teen, identified as J.M., talked on the messaging app Kik about meeting for sex. Police found the conversations after searching the boy’s Kindle.
The teen’s father told investigators his son has a history of “soliciting himself on Craigslist for sexual conduct.”
The boy allegedly told Shortey he needed money for spring break.
“I don’t really have any legitimate things I need help with right now,” Shortey wrote to the teen, according to the affidavit. “Would you be interested in ‘sexual’ stuff?”
“Yes,” the boy responded.
Shortey’s official legislative biography says he is married to his high school sweetheart, with whom he has two children, and attended Heartland Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma City.
It says his legislative priorities include personal liberty, fighting illegal immigration and strengthening public safety in Oklahoma.
Shortey made headlines in January 2012 when he wrote a bill to ban the use of aborted human fetuses in food, even though he didn’t know of any company that used such a practice, according to The Oklahoman.
He was an early endorser of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, throwing his weight behind Trump in October 2015. He was listed as part of Trump’s “leadership team” in Oklahoma, according to the Daily News.
The day after he was found at the motel with the teenage boy, Shortey posted on Facebook how honored he was to have had lunch with Donald Trump Jr., the Daily News reported.
The Facebook page appears to have been taken down.