Anti-LGBT Republican will plead guilty to child sex trafficking
Ralph Shortey, a senior member of Donald Trump’s primary campaign team in Oklahoma, will plead guilty to child sex trafficking.
The Republican stepped down as Oklahoma state senator after being discovered in a hotel room with a 17-year-old boy who Shortey allegedly hired as a prostitute.
The age of consent in Oklahoma is 16, but the state’s child prostitution law applies to people under 18.
Shortey will plead guilty to a child sex trafficking offense for soliciting sex from the boy, according to reports.
In exchange for this plea, federal prosecutors will drop three counts of child pornography against the former politician.
The two-term state senator, who was elected on a family values platform, consistently voted in favour of bills which would harm LGBT people, according to AP.
One of these was a bill which proposed allowing businesses to discriminate against gay people.
Shortey, who is scheduled to plead guilty on November 30, faces a minimum sentence of 10 years in prison – but could be handed a life sentence.
His attorney, Ed Blau, said: “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.”
According to court documents, Shortey, who is married with children, offered to pay the teen for “sexual stuff” so the boy could raise money for Spring Break.
He also referred to having sex with the teen’s “boy pussy, baby boy”.
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Shortey and the boy said they met through Craigslist, and had been contacting each other on instant messaging app Kik.
After his arrest earlier this year, he was charged with engaging in child prostitution, engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church and transporting a minor for prostitution.
Court documents have also revealed allegations that Shortey sent videos of young boys and a “prepubescent girl” over email in October 2013.
He was also alleged to have persuaded a minor to send him an inappropriate photo.