An Oklahoma Republican state senator who campaigned as a champion of family values was charged with felony prostitution on Thursday after authorities found him in a motel room with a teenage boy, county officials said.
Ralph Shortey, 35, was charged with three felony counts, including engaging in child prostitution, the office of the Cleveland County District Attorney said. Shortey, who has served since 2010, has not spoken to media about the incident.
According to an arrest affidavit, police found Shortey and a 17-year-old male, who was not named, in a motel room in Moore, south of Oklahoma City, on March 9.
“Officers present observed a strong odor of marijuana coming from the room and inside the room at the time of their contact with the defendant,” the affidavit said.
According to court records, Shortey was booked at a local jail on Thursday afternoon. His bond has been set at $100,000.
A guns rights advocate who has taken a hard-line stance against abortion, Shortey was sanctioned by the Republican-dominated state Senate on Wednesday on a 43-0 vote for “disorderly behavior.”
The act imposed penalties such as stripping him of his office, removing him from committee positions and canceling his reserved parking space.
In a statement issued Thursday morning, Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, a Republican, called on Shortey to resign.
“Oklahomans deserve to be represented by those above reproach,” he said. “Ralph Shortey has clearly failed to achieve this minimum standard and rightfully lost his Senate privileges.”
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz in Austin, Texas and Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton in Tulsa, Oklahoma.; Editing by Alistair Bell and Dan Grebler)