Former Oklahoma state senator indicted by federal grand jury

FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2017, file photo, state Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, speaks during a Senate committee meeting on a Real ID bill in Oklahoma City. Shortey, who faces state child prostitution charges for allegedly hiring a 17-year-old boy for sex, has been indicted by a federal grand jury on child pornography and child sex trafficking charges. The four-count federal indictment that was unsealed Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. Shortey resigned in March after he was arrested on state charges. He faces up to life in prison if convicted on the federal charges. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal indictment unsealed Wednesday accuses a former Oklahoma state senator who already faces state child prostitution charges of also engaging in child pornography and child sex trafficking.

A federal grand jury returned a four-count indictment against two-term former Republican state Sen. Ralph Shortey, who resigned in March after he was arrested on state charges of engaging in child prostitution, transporting a minor for prostitution and engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of church. He is alleged to have hired a 17-year-old boy for sex.

Police in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore arrested Shortey in March after they found him with the boy in a motel room. The FBI and U.S. Secret Service said shortly after Shortey's arrest that they had joined the investigation. The FBI conducted a search of Shortey's Oklahoma City home in March, and the Secret Service said it was assisting in the investigation at the request of the Moore Police Department.

Among other things, the federal indictment accuses Shortey of producing child pornography in 2016 and 2017 and allegedly using his smartphone to send videos involving young boys and a young girl in 2013.

In addition, the indictment accuses Shortey of child sex trafficking for allegedly soliciting a minor to engage in a commercial sex act on March 8 and 9, 2017, the same incident that led to Shortey's arrest and the filing of state charges against Shortey in Cleveland County. Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn said Wednesday that those charges will be dismissed following the federal indictment.

Shortey's defence attorney, Ed Blau, did not immediately respond to telephone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Shortey faces up to life in prison if he is convicted of the child sex trafficking charge and maximum sentences of between 20 and 30 years on the other charges. He could also face fines of up to $250,000 on each count.


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