Prosecutors in Oklahoma filed child prostitution charges on Thursday against a state senator after he was found in a motel room with an underage teen last week.
Sen. Ralph Shortey (R-Oklahoma City), who had been an early supporter of Donald Trump’s presidency, has been charged with three felony counts of engaging in child prostitution, engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church and transporting of a minor for prostitution/lewdness, according to documents filed by the Cleveland County District Attorney’s Office.
The 35-year-old senator, who has a wife and two children, has been under investigation by the local Moore Police Department since March 9 when authorities said he was found in a Super 8 Motel with a 17-year-old boy.
After searching the motel room, which was described by officers as reeking of marijuana, police recovered a tablet device belonging to the teen. The device allegedly revealed conversations between him and Shortey about exchanging sex acts for money, local station KOCO reported citing a search warrant released by police.
One such message allegedly showed the teen asking Shortey if he could do any jobs for him for money for spring break. Shortey said he didn’t have any “legitimate things” that he needed help with but asked: “would you be interested in ‘sexual’ stuff?”
The boy’s father reportedly contacted police after he said his son was seen entering the motel with an older male. He said his son has a history of abusing drugs and soliciting himself for sex on Craig’s List, an online classified advertisements service.
According to the Senate’s website, Shortey attended a Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma City before providing mission work overseas. He also was an early supporter of Trump during the president’s primary campaign, having joined a list of 23 Oklahoma leaders in 2015, according to Trump’s website.
A photo posted to Shortey’s Facebook page one day after his alleged motel meeting last week showed him posing with Trump’s son, Donald Jr., whom he said he was honored to have had lunch with, the New York Daily News reported.
On Wednesday, the state Senate voted to suspend Shortey from all committees and remove his name from legislation, KFOR reported.
A message left with his office on Thursday morning was not immediately returned.
This story has been updated to include information about Shortey’s endorsement of Trump.