Political News

The Latest: Oklahoma governor calls on senator to step down

Posted March 16

FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2017 file photo, Oklahoma state Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, speaks during a Senate committee meeting in Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma Senate has voted to punish Shortey, who police say was found with a teenage boy in a motel room. Police officials in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore are still investigating the circumstances surrounding an incident last week involving Sen. Shortey and a teenager. No charges have been filed. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

— The Latest on an Oklahoma state senator facing child prostitution charges (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has joined a chorus of state officials who are calling for the resignation of a state senator who faces child prostitution charges involving a 17-year-old boy.

Fallin on Thursday urged Republican Sen. Ralph Shortey of Oklahoma City to step down after he was charged with engaging in child prostitution, transporting a minor for prostitution and engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church.

Shortey was booked into the Cleveland County Detention Center and released on bond. He declined to comment to reporters at the jail but said he would release a statement later.

Fallin says the charges don't reflect the character and decorum expected from an elected state official in Oklahoma. Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb and leaders of the state Senate previously called for Shortey's resignation.

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3:35 p.m.

Oklahoma Senate leaders are calling for the immediate resignation of a state senator who faces child prostitution charges involving a 17-year-old boy.

Republican Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz and Senate Democratic Leader John Sparks called Thursday for the resignation of Republican state Sen. Ralph Shortey.

Shortey was charged Thursday with engaging in child prostitution, transporting a minor for prostitution and engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of church. He was booked into the Cleveland County Detention Center and released on bond.

He declined to comment to reporters at the jail but said he would release a statement later.

Sparks says remaining in the Senate is not an option for Shortey and that his Oklahoma City constituents deserve a senator who is focused on their needs, which he says Shortey can't do.

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2:15 p.m.

An Oklahoma YMCA official says Republican state Sen. Ralph Shortey has been removed from his position as a volunteer for its Youth and Government program following his arrest on felony child prostitution charges.

Oklahoma YMCA spokeswoman Brenda Bennett said Thursday she's unaware of any allegations of wrongdoing involving Shortey's work for the program, but that the agency is conducting an internal investigation due to the nature of the allegations in the criminal case.

Shortey was booked Thursday on three prostitution-related charges after police in Moore found him and a 17-year-old boy in a hotel room last week.

Bennett says Shortey has been active in the Youth and Government program for 17 years and served as an adult sponsor on several out-of-state trips.

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12:55 p.m.

A Republican state senator facing child prostitution charges involving a 17-year-old boy has surrendered to authorities in Cleveland County.

State Sen. Ralph Shortey was booked Thursday into the Cleveland County Detention Center. His bond was set at $100,000.

He told reporters he had no comment on the charges but would release a statement later.

Shortey faces charges of engaging in child prostitution, transporting a minor for prostitution and engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of church. Police in Moore, acting on a tip from the teen's father, found Shortey and the teen in a hotel room last week.

Oklahoma's age of consent is 16, but its child prostitution statute applies to anyone under the age of 18.

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11:30 a.m.

Oklahoma's lieutenant governor has called for the resignation of state Sen. Ralph Shortey, who faces child prostitution charges after police found him in a hotel with a 17-year-old boy.

Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb issued a statement Thursday calling on his fellow Republican to resign so that the people of his Oklahoma City district can move forward with a new state senator.

The state Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday to strip Shortey of most of his Senate privileges.

Shortey was first elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014 with 52 percent of the vote in a three-way race.

His predecessor in the state Senate, Democrat Debbe Leftwich, didn't seek re-election while she was being investigated for soliciting a bribe. She was later convicted of a felony.

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10:10 a.m.

Oklahoma prosecutors have filed child prostitution charges against a Republican state senator after police found him in a hotel room a 17-year-old boy.

Cleveland County prosecutors charged 35-year-old Ralph Shortey on Thursday with engaging in child prostitution, transporting a minor for prostitution and engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of church. An arrest warrant has been issued for him.

Moore police say that acting on a tip from the teen's father, they went to the Super 8 Hotel last week and smelled marijuana coming from a room. They found Shortey and the teen alone inside.

The age of consent in Oklahoma is 16.

Shortey has not replied to several phone messages seeking comment, and court records don't show if he has an attorney.

A conservative Republican from south Oklahoma City, Shortey was a county coordinator and early supporter of Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

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12:30 a.m.

The Oklahoma Senate has voted to punish a state senator who police say was found with a teenage boy in a motel room.

Police officials in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore are still investigating the circumstances surrounding an incident last week involving Sen. Ralph Shortey and a teenager. No charges have been filed.

The Senate voted 43-0 Wednesday for a resolution that imposes a series of punishments on the Republican from Oklahoma City. The resolution accuses Shortey of "disorderly behavior."

Among other things, it removes Shortey from membership and leadership of various Senate committees, bars him from occupying his office at the Capitol and blocks his expense allowances and authorship of various bills.

Shortey was not in his Capitol office Wednesday and has not responded to requests for comment.

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