Former State Senator Pleads Guilty To Child Sex Trafficking
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – RALPH ALLAN LEE SHORTEY, 35, of Oklahoma City, pleaded guilty today to child sex trafficking, announced Mark A. Yancey, United States Attorney for the Western District of Oklahoma.
On September 5, 2017, a federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment against Shortey, who was an Oklahoma State Senator at the time of the alleged offenses. Counts 1 and 2 charged him with using a facility of interstate commerce on October 10 and 15, 2013, to transport child pornography. In particular, these child pornography counts alleged Shortey used his smartphone to send a video involving a prepubescent girl and videos involving young boys from his AOL email address to a Hotmail address and a Yahoo! address. Count 3 alleged Shortey produced child pornography by persuading a minor identified as John Doe to send him at least one image of Doe’s penis. This count alleged Shortey began communicating with Doe in February 2016 on Kik, a social media application, and that the production of child pornography took place between February 14, 2016, and March 8, 2017.
Count 4 charged Shortey with child sex trafficking for soliciting a minor to engage in a commercial sex act on March 8 and 9, 2017. According to the indictment, Doe advised Shortey via Kik on March 8 that he needed money for spring break. Shortey is alleged to have replied: "I don’t really have any legitimate things I need help with right now. Would you be interested in 'sexual' stuff?" The indictment stated that after Doe responded "yes," the Kik conversation included explicit references to sex acts. The indictment further alleged that 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 allegedly discovered Doe with Shortey, whose backpack contained an open box of condoms.
This afternoon Shortey pleaded guilty to Count 4, the child-sex-trafficking count. In particular, he admitted to U.S. District Judge Timothy D. DeGiusti that he solicited Doe, who was a minor, to engage in a commercial sex act in and affecting interstate commerce, after having had a reasonable opportunity to observe Doe. The United States has agreed to dismiss the remaining three counts at the time of sentencing. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court ordered that Shortey be detained in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service until sentencing, which will take place in approximately 90 days.
Shortey faces a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years in prison. He could receive a maximum sentence of life in prison. He will serve a term of supervised release after incarceration of at least 5 years and up to life and could be fined up to $250,000. He will also be required to pay restitution and a $5,000 special assessment.
This case is the result of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation 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 are prosecuting the case. Reference is made to court filings for further information.