OK legislator pleads guilty to child sex crime

Posted at 7:21 AM, Dec 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-01 07:21:04-05

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KFOR/CNN) - Former Oklahoma state Senator Ralph Shortey has pleaded guilty to one count of child sex trafficking.

Shortey took the deal Thursday after being caught with an underage boy at a motel this past spring. He resigned from the Oklahoma Senate after being arrested.

"In the federal system, you have to serve 85 percent of whatever you're sentenced to, so if he's given 10 years, he'll obviously have to serve 8.5 years," attorney Ed Blau said.

That's the minimum sentence the former Republican senator will face for his crime.

"He feels terrible for putting his family through this. He feels terrible for his constituents. If he could go back and take every bit of it back, he would," Blau said.

Federal prosecutors said Shortey was caught at a motel in March with an underaged boy.

In court Thursday, the then-senator admitted they started talking on a social media app, then later arranged to meet.

The teenager needed money for spring break and was willing to exchange it for sexual favors.

Shortey drove the boy to the motel, bringing with him a laptop and condoms.

As part of the plea deal, three counts of child pornography charges were dropped. He still faces the maximum penalty of life in prison.

Inside the courtroom, Blau argued his client was not a flight risk and should be released pending sentencing.

"He has a wife. He has four children all under the age of 17. They homeschool their kids, so they're obviously having to look for a public school now," Blau said.

The judge denied the request, taking Shortey into federal custody immediately.

"The standards are so unbelievably high for somebody to remain on bond after pleading guilty to a charge such as this that the judge denied it. I was hopeful but I'm not surprised at this," Blau said.

A sentencing date has not been set yet.

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