Former state senator sentenced for sex trafficking

A former Republican state senator in Oklahoma was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison Monday on a child sex trafficking charge.

U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti handed down the sentence to Ralph Shortey, 36, who faced sentences of between 10 years and life in prison. DeGiusti also ordered Shortey to serve 10 years of supervised probation once he is released from prison and said he will impose a fine on the former two-term lawmaker at a later date. The fine could be up to $250,000.

Shortey pleaded guilty in November in exchange for prosecutors dropping three child pornography charges against him. He said at the time that the plea deal was in the best interest of him and his family.

Shortey was arrested in March 2017 after police found him in a suburban Oklahoma City motel room with a then-17-year-old boy. Police were acting on a tip from the teen’s father when they went to the motel and said they smelled marijuana coming from the room. Police accused the married father of four of hiring the teen for sex.

Shortey resigned shortly after the arrest. His wife obtained a divorce earlier this year.

— Associated Press


7 injured in circus camel incident

A startled camel started bucking during a circus in Pittsburgh when a child apparently threw a shovel at its feet, injuring six children and an adult and causing frightened circusgoers to flee the arena.

Two children and an adult were riding the camel during an intermission at the Shrine Circus at PPG Paints Arena when it became startled. Authorities say one child suffered a broken arm, while the injuries suffered by the others were considered minor.

The incident, caught on video, happened about 3:30 p.m. as people were buying rides on tethered camels, ponies or elephants led by handlers.

The camel was brought under control within seconds, and the circus resumed without any further problems. The animal was not injured, officials said.

Authorities are seeking to verify that the shovel caused the animal’s reaction, and police are reviewing video of the ordeal to determine the cause.

— Associated Press

Cat knocks out power in parts of New Orleans: A cat got into a utility company substation and came into contact with electrical equipment, knocking out electricity to more than 7,500 New Orleans customers. Entergy New Orleans said on its website and in social media posts that it happened Monday morning. New Orleans news outlets said the outage happened about 8:30 a.m. Power had been fully restored by midday. The outage affected part of the city's central business district and some other neighborhoods. The utility said it is unusual for a cat to get into a substation or make it around protective devices. The company added that when it happens, the animal doesn't survive.

Shooting survivor dies in car crash: A Texas man who survived a mass shooting during a video game tournament last month in Florida has died in a car crash, authorities said Monday. The Texas Department of Public Safety said Ryen Aleman, 25, of Robstown was killed Sunday in a single-vehicle wreck near Corpus Christi. Aleman was among the participants at a Madden NFL 19 tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., last month when a fellow gamer opened fire, killing two people. At the time, Aleman told the Corpus Christi Caller Times newspaper that he crawled into a bathroom to escape the gunfire. A spokesman for the Department of Public Safety said Aleman lost control of his vehicle, which overturned and crashed into nearby railroad tracks.

— From news services