An embattled Republican state senator from Oklahoma will resign from office amid allegations that he solicited sex from a 17-year-old boy, his lawyer said Tuesday.
Ed Blau, who represents Sen. Ralph Shortey of Oklahoma City, said the senator plans to resign by the end of Wednesday. The decision comes nearly two weeks after Shortey and the teen were found in a Super 8 motel in Moore, Okla., just south of Oklahoma City, according to an affidavit — and just days after Gov. Mary Fallin (R) called on Shortey to resign.
Shortey was charged Thursday with three felonies: Soliciting the prostitution of a minor; transportation for the purpose of prostitution; and prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church. Blau said Shortey is scheduled for arraignment on Friday, when a judge will automatically enter a not-guilty plea on his behalf as part of a procedural process.
Blau said it was too early to comment on the charges. Shortey, 35, is expected to release a statement about his resignation Wednesday.
The allegations against Shortey prompted Republican leaders in Oklahoma to call for the two-term senator’s resignation. The Oklahoma Senate had sanctioned Shortey for “disorderly behavior” and unanimously voted on a resolution last week imposing a series of punishments, including banning him from his Capitol office, removing his name from any legislation and suspending his leadership positions on certain committees.
“The charges against him do not reflect the character and decorum that we expect of an elected official,” Fallin said, according to the Tulsa World. Fallin said the charges were “not acceptable.”
Shortey turned himself in at the Cleveland County Jail on Thursday and was immediately released on a $100,000 bond.
Authorities confiscated the teen’s tablet and found communications between him and Shortey on a messaging app called Kik, the affidavit says. The teen told Shortey that he needed money for spring break, and the two talked about meeting for sex on March 9.
“I don’t really have any legitimate things I need help with right now,” Shortey wrote, the affidavit says. “Would you be interested in ‘sexual’ stuff?”
“Yes,” the teen responded.
Authorities say the two went on to talk about the logistics of their meeting. They talked about bringing marijuana to the motel, which is near First Christian Church.
Later, a witness saw Shortey pick up the teen in his white Jeep Cherokee, the affidavit says. The witness followed the two to the Super 8.
Shortey initially denied that an underage teenager was with him after officers knocked on the motel room door, according to a redacted police report. A search of the teen’s Kindle tablet revealed the Kik conversation with Shortey, who went by “Brinokec4u” on the app, according to the affidavit.
Police also found a container labeled “Colorado Retail Marijuana.” Both Shortey and the teen told officers that they each brought 1 gram of marijuana to the motel, and Shortey said they were smoking when police knocked on the door, the affidavit says.
Authorities say the two met via an online personal ad on Craigslist about a year ago and had been texting since.
The teen’s father tipped off police about the meeting, the Associated Press reported. According to the police report, the father was at the motel when police arrived and told police that his son was seen going inside a room with a man.
Federal officials are involved in the investigation, though no federal charges have been filed.
An FBI spokeswoman confirmed to the AP that the agency had searched the senator’s Oklahoma City home, but declined to provide more details.
The Secret Service’s special agent in charge in Oklahoma City, Ken Valentine, told the AP that the agency is assisting in the investigation at the request of the Moore Police Department. It’s unclear how exactly the Secret Service is involved, but Valentine said the agency has the latest technology for investigating crimes involving smartphones and computers.
Shortey was first elected to the Oklahoma Senate in 2010 to represent a portion of Oklahoma City. His Senate biography describes him as a “longtime political volunteer” who worked in the oil and gas industry as a production consultant before entering public office.
He is married to his “high school sweetheart” and attended Heartland Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma City, according to his biography. He and his wife have three children, according to local media reports.
Shortey, an early supporter of President Trump, is known for his strong stance against illegal immigration and gun control. He also routinely voted in favor of bills targeting members of the LGBT community, the AP reported.
Recently, he proposed a bill that would ban sanctuary cities in Oklahoma. Senate Bill 573 was introduced last month, and Shortey’s name was removed as author last week.
In 2012, he stirred controversy by authoring an ill-fated bill to prohibit “the manufacture or sale of food products which use aborted human fetuses.”