OKLAHOMA CITY (CN) – A former Oklahoma state senator who quit after being accused of hiring a teenage boy on Craigslist to have sex now faces additional federal child pornography and sex-trafficking charges.
Unsealed Wednesday, an eight-page federal indictment charged Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, with two counts of transportation of child pornography, one count of production of child pornography and one count of child sex trafficking.
He faces up to 20 years in prison on the first and second counts, up to 30 years on the third and up to life on the fourth. He could also be fined up to $250,000 on each count.
Federal prosecutors claim Shortey used his smartphone and an AOL email account to email a video showing “a man engaging in sexually explicit conduct with a prepubescent girl” to another email address.
The indictment also claims he emailed videos entitled “boy group,” “young boys f[***]ing,” and “young boy sucking c[***]” to another email address.
A married father of four, Shortey, 35, was arrested in March after facing state felony charges of engaging in child prostitution, engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church, and transporting a minor for prostitution. He was reelected last November to his fourth term.
The Oklahoma Senate unanimously passed a resolution stripping Shortey of his powers and kicked him out of his Capitol office in the days after he was found in a Moore, Okla., hotel room with a teenager. He resigned days later.
Police say the unidentified boy’s father told them his son “has a history of soliciting himself” on Craigslist for sex. They say three officers who showed up at the hotel smelled a strong odor of marijuana in the room and found a bottle of lotion and an open box of condoms.
Federal prosecutors claim Shortey communicated with the boy between March 2016 and March 2017 frequently on the Kik messaging app.
Shortey has not commented on the charges against him since his March arrest.
Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn said Wednesday that in light of the federal indictment, he will dismiss the state felony case against Shortey.
“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,” Mashburn said in a written statement. “It was an honor to work with the various law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation.”
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.