A former Oklahoma legislator is facing child pornography and sex trafficking charges after police caught him in a hotel room with a teenage boy.
Former Oklahoma state Senator Ralph Shortey entered court in handcuffs on Wednesday and plead not guilty to four counts of child sex trafficking and child pornography. Shortey — a Republican who represented Oklahoma City in the state senate — was released with a lengthy set of requirements including wearing an ankle monitor and abstaining from viewing any pornography, The Oklahoman reports. His federal court appearance is the result of a March FBI investigation that led police to a hotel room where they reportedly discovered Shortey with a 17-year-old boy.
The legislator, who is married, messaged the teenager and offered to pay for “sexual stuff,” police say. In the hotel room, authorities found an open box of condoms and a bottle of lotion. He resigned in March when FBI agents searched his house and found child pornography. The sex trafficking charges are based of the encounters with the boy.
He was elected in 2010 and, since then, he’s used fake names and pseudonyms on social media, email and Craigslist, according to the grand jury indictment. In the filing, prosecutors also alleged that Shortey was communicating with multiple underage boys.
If convicted, the maximum penalties could put him in prison for life. His attorney said told The Oklahoman he has not seen all the documents and that it would be inappropriate to comment.