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Published On: Tue, Sep 18th, 2018

Former Oklahoma State Senator Ralph Shortey sentenced to 15 years for child sex trafficking

Ralph Allen Lee Shortey, 36, has been sentenced to fifteen years in prison for soliciting a minor to engage in a commercial sex act.

“Today’s sentence shows that federal law enforcement will take whatever steps are necessary to protect children from sexual exploitation, regardless of the status or position of the defendant,” said Robert J. Troester of the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

FBI Special Agent-in-Charge Kathryn Peterson said: “This investigation reinforces the message that the victimization of children will not be tolerated by law enforcement.  The FBI will continue to meticulously investigate these crimes, which cause irreparable harm and trauma to the victims.”

Shortey pleaded guilty on November 30, 2017, to one count of child sex trafficking.  In particular, he admitted he solicited a minor identified as “John Doe” to engage in a commercial sex act on March 8 and 9, 2017.  According to a September 2017 indictment, Doe advised Shortey on March 8 via Kik, a mobile messaging app, that he needed money for spring break.  Shortey replied: “I don’t really have any legitimate things I need help with right now.  Would you be interested in ‘sexual’ stuff?”  After Doe responded “yes,” the Kik conversation included explicit references to sex acts.  Just after midnight on March 9, Shortey drove Doe 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 discovered Doe with Shortey, whose backpack contained an open box of condoms.

Shortey was serving as an Oklahoma State Senator at the time of the offense.  He resigned in March 2017, shortly after his conduct led the Cleveland County District Attorney to charge him with state crimes.  A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment against Shortey on September 5, 2017.  That indictment included three counts relating to child pornography: emailing videos of a prepubescent girl and young boys in October 2013 and producing child pornography by persuading John Doe to send him a sexually explicit image.  As a result of a plea agreement, the United States dismissed these counts.  The court, however, was still entitled to consider them in determining an appropriate sentence.

Today U.S. District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti sentenced Shortey to prison for 180 months, or fifteen years, in addition to ten years of supervised release.  The sentence also requires him to pay $5,100 in special assessments.  Restitution will be determined at a later time.

This case is the result of an investigation by the FBI and the Moore Police Department, with assistance from the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office and the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys K. McKenzie Anderson and Brandon Hale prosecuted the case.

Reference is made to court filings for further information.

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