Oklahoma state senator found with boy in motel charged with prostitution

An Oklahoma Republican state senator who campaigned as a champion of family values was charged with felony prostitution on Thursday after authorities found him in a motel room with a teenage boy, county officials said.

Ralph Shortey, 35, was charged with three felony counts, including engaging in child prostitution, the office of the Cleveland County District Attorney said. Shortey, who has served since 2010, has not spoken to media about the incident.

According to an arrest affidavit, police found Shortey and a 17-year-old male, who was not named, in a motel room in Moore, south of Oklahoma City, on March 9.

“Officers present observed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the room and inside the room at the time of their contact with the defendant,” the affidavit said.

The district attorney has asked that Shortey turn himself in by noon on Thursday or face arrest, local media reported.

Shortey, a guns rights advocate who has taken a hard-line stance against abortion, was sanctioned by the Republican-dominated state Senate on Wednesday on a 43-0 vote for “disorderly behavior.”

The act imposed penalties such as stripping him of his office, removing him from committee positions and canceling his reserved parking space.

Officials from the Oklahoma Republican Party were not immediately available to comment on the charges.

Before the charges were filed, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chair Mark Hammons called on Shortey to halt his official activities.

“This is far too embarrassing to have him speak, vote or represent Oklahoma on any issue,” Hammons said in a statement.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas; Editing by Alistair Bell and Dan Grebler)

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