A former Republican state senator in Oklahoma has been sentenced to 15 years in federal prison for child sex trafficking.
Ralph Shortey, who pleaded guilty last year to paying a teenage boy for sex, apologized in court on Monday for ‘leading a double life of sin’.
US District Judge Timothy DeGiusti handed down the sentence to Shortey, 36, who had faced between 10 years and life in prison.
DeGiusti also ordered the father-of-four to serve 10 years of supervised probation once he is released from prison and said he will impose a fine – which could be up to $250,000 on the former two-term lawmaker at a later date.
Police released this tape of Shortey’s arrest in the motel room where he was caught with a 17-year-old male, allegedly for lewd purposes, last year
He pleaded guilty in November in exchange for prosecutors dropping three child pornography charges against him.
On Monday his defense attorney Ed Blau said: ‘I believe, based on Mr. Shortey’s tragic background, the judge did the right thing and showed him some leniency’.
Shortey was arrested in March 2017 after police found him in a suburban Oklahoma City motel room with a then-17-year-old boy.
Oklahoma police captured footage of Shortey (above) as they confronted him in Moore Hotel where he was found with a 17-year-old boy they suspected he had hired to engage in sex
Shortey resigned shortly after the arrest and his wife obtained a divorce earlier this year.
A police report indicated a search of the teen’s tablet computer uncovered a series of sexually explicit exchanges in which Shortey referred to the teen as ‘baby boy’ and offered him cash in exchange for ‘sexual stuff’.
The FBI also found that Shortey had previously used fake names to send and receive child pornography and to go on Craigslist to seek casual encounters with males, the ‘younger the better’.
Shortey was twice elected in a district covering south Oklahoma City and parts of two suburbs.
Related: Oklahoma Republican Sen., Ralph Shortey, charged with soliciting gay child prostitution; turns himself in
According to an affidavit seen by KFOR, the teen told authorities that he and Shortey had known each other for about one year.
He said they originally met last year through a Craigslist personal encounter ad in or around February 2016.
Shortey told detectives he met the teen through a coffee shop he owns, and learned that he had dropped out of high school.
From then until March, the documents state, Shortey “obtained at least one image of John Doe’s penis.”
‘When we first met, I was trying to help him study and get his GED,’ Shortey said on an interrogation tape obtained by KFOR.
Shortey when he was found in a motel with a boy he had told police was ‘just a friend.
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.
He said: ‘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.’
Early Trump supporter Okla Sen Ralph Shortey [Left], in a photo with Donald Trump Jr. which he posted to the state Senator’s Facebook page on March 10, 2017 a day after the motel incident.
Duplicity: Shortey speaking at Senate committee hearing in February 2017 [photo], a month before he was found in a motel with a boy he claimed was ‘just a friend’, who was supposed to take a test for his GED the next day, and had asked him to come pick him up
However 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?’
‘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.
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.
‘Christian dad’, Ralph Shortey [right], and his wife Jennifer [left], have four daughters
Following a tip from the boy’s father, police went looking for the teen at a Super 8 Motel in Moore, Oklahoma, on March 9, at a room rented with Shortey’s driver’s license and credit card. When officers knocked, Shortey told them he and the teen were getting dressed.
‘When Shortey opened the door, Doe left the room with his backpack, which contained a bottle of lotion,’ the police report stated. ‘Inside the room, Moore Police offers found Shortey’s backpack. Shortey’s backpack contained an open box of condoms and a laptop computer.’
The report also stated Shortey was in possession of child pornography that ‘depicts a man engaging in sexually explicit conduct with a prepubescent girl.’