A former Oklahoma state senator is expected to plead guilty to a child sex trafficking charge later this month for offering to pay a 17-year-old boy for sexual “stuff” earlier this year, authorities said.
According to The Oklahoman, Ralph Shortey, a Republican, will plead guilty, and in exchange, prosecutors have agreed to drop three child-pornography charges against him.
“It is in my best interest and in the best interest of my family,” Shortey wrote in plea paperwork, the news site notes.
Shortey is scheduled to plead guilty Nov. 30 and, will be required to serve at least 10 years in prison, which is the mandatory minimum for child sex trafficking.
Shortey could face the maximum punishment, which is life in prison, but according to The Oklahoman, he is hoping to avoid a life sentence by making a deal. U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti is expected to make a sentencing decision next year.
Meanwhile, Shortey remains married to his high school sweetheart, with whom he has four daughters, according to his defense attorney.
“Mr. Shortey feels this is a necessary step in putting this painful and humiliating ordeal behind him, for both himself, his family and for the state of Oklahoma,” Shortey’s attorney, Ed Blau, who negotiated the plea deal, told the news site.
Shortey, who was first elected in 2012, resigned in March following an investigation that started with the local police before the FBI started probing. He had been found with the teenager at a Super 8 in Moore, Okla., at around 1 a.m. March 9.
The teen’s girlfriend had followed them to the hotel after seeing Shortey pick the boy up. The girlfriend then called the teen’s father, who called the police.
From The Oklahoman:
The investigation of Shortey uncovered evidence he had led a secret life. The FBI reported he used fake names to post Craigslist ads seeking sex with young males and on an email account to send and receive pornography.
“Shortey used those pseudonyms almost exclusively for illicit and illegal sexual interests or encounters, several of which included communications and exchanges of pornography with underage males, and/or the sharing of child pornography,” the FBI agent wrote in the court affidavit.
Read more at NewsOK.