A year ago, Ralph Shortey served in the Oklahoma state senate as a Republican. That changed March 9, 2017, when cops found him in a hotel room with a 17-year-old boy. He was seen wearing a shirt that referenced a bible verse about wives obeying their husbands. Now police have released interrogation footage from four days later. In the video, they confront him with evidence he solicited the teen for sex.
“So here’s the deal, Ralph,” an investigator said. “You and I both know what the truth is, and the truth is not what you’re telling us.”
Early in the footage, Shortey can be seen asking if the teenager was “legitimately underage.” He insisted he only had the boy over to his house once to play video games, and they met at a coffee shop a couple of times.
The teen said Shortey was well aware that he was underage, according to one investigator.
Detectives said Shortey and the teen met after the boy made a post on Craigslist in the casual encounters section. The initial plan was that Shortey would watch the teen “mess around” with Shortey’s wife, but that didn’t happen because the teen thought the wife to be pregnant.
In a later message to the boy, Shortey suggested getting a hotel room.
“That’s not me,” said Shortey, denying the allegations.
“He [the teen] says it’s you that he’s talking to,” said a detective.
Shortey continued to deny the allegations, including a claim that he kissed the boy in 2016.
“And you made a bad decision,” said an investigator in an attempt get Shortey’s confession. “It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. Just means you made a bad decision. It’s not the end of the world.”
“If I can’t prove otherwise, then it is the end of the world,” Shortey said.
Well, it was definitely the end of his political career. He resigned from the state senate a few days later. Shortey, known for votes detrimental to LGBT rights, pleaded guilty in November to one federal charge of child sex trafficking. In return, prosecutors dropped one count of child pornography and two counts of transportation of child pornography. The indictment against him said he got at least one picture of the teen’s genitals, and he emailed illicit videos depicting other minors.
[Screengrab via Moore Police Department; video obtained by The Oklahoman]