Former state senator Ralph Shortey has been indicted by a federal grand jury for sex crimes.
The indictment was unsealed Wednesday afternoon in Oklahoma City.
Sept. 5 a federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment involving child pornography and child sex trafficking according to Mark A Yancey, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
Republican Ralph Shortey was an Oklahoma state senator from SD 44 on the south side of Oklahoma City until his resignation March 22 after he was caught in a motel room with a male minor under suspicious circumstances.
He was heavily involved in resourcing other Republican candidates and was gaining influence in the Republican-dominated legislature before his resignation in disgrace.
Shortey was also very active in his church’s youth programs. Free Press published a story about the religious meanings of his behavior soon after his arrest.
The counts were described by Yancey in a news release:
Counts 1 and 2 charge him with using a facility of interstate commerce on October 10 and 15, 2013, to transport child pornography. In particular, these child pornography counts allege Shortey used his smartphone to send a video involving a prepubescent girl and videos involving young boys from his AOL email address to a Hotmail address and a Yahoo! address. Count 3 alleges Shortey produced child pornography by persuading a minor identified as John Doe to send him at least one image of Doe’s penis. This count alleges Shortey began communicating with Doe on Kik, a social media application, in February 2016 and that the production of child pornography took place between February 14, 2016, and March 8, 2017.
Count 4 charges Shortey with child sex trafficking for soliciting a minor to engage in a commercial sex act on March 8 and 9, 2017. According to the indictment, Doe advised Shortey via Kik on March 8 that he needed money for spring break. Shortey is alleged to have replied: “I don’t really have any legitimate things I need help with right now. Would you be interested in ‘sexual’ stuff?” The indictment states that after Doe responded “yes,” the Kik conversation included explicit references to sexual conduct. The indictment further alleges that just after midnight on March 9, Shortey drove Doe from Doe’s house to a Super 8 Motel in Moore, Oklahoma, where Shortey rented a room with his credit card. Based on information provided by Doe’s father, officers of the Moore Police Department knocked on the motel room door at approximately 1:00 a.m. and allegedly discovered Doe with Shortey, whose backpack contained an open box of condoms.
And Shortey is facing possible jail time on each count.
If convicted, Shortey faces mandatory minimum sentences on each count. Counts 1 and 2 carry no less than 5 and up to 20 years in prison. Count 3 carries no less than 15 and up to 30 years in prison. And Count 4 carries no less than 10 years and up to life in prison. Shortey would also face supervised release after incarceration of at least 5 years and up to life, in addition to fines of up to $250,000 per count, mandatory restitution, $100 special assessments on Counts 1 and 2, and $5,000 special assessments on Counts 3 and 4.
Yancey explained that Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn has decided to the three-count information filed in that county will be dismissed because they are covered in count 4 of the federal indictment.
“I believe this case is best handled in one venue and have every confidence the U.S. Attorney’s Office will prosecute this matter expeditiously,” said Mashburn. “It was an honor to work with the various law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation.”
Yancey gave no further information about a trial date.