An Oklahoma senator who led President Donald Trump's primary campaign in the state faces possible prostitution charges after a homosexual encounter in a cheap motel.
State Senator Ralph Shortey, a 35-year-old Republican, was caught soliciting sex from an unidentified teenager on March 9 at a Super 8 Motel in Moore, Oklahoma, reports the Daily Mail.
The room in which Shortey allegedly offered the teen money in exchange for "sexual stuff" also smelled of "raw marijuana," said police.
Shortey and the teenager, who is reportedly 16 or 17 years old, confessed that they had engaged in texts "pertaining to sexual activities in exchange for money," according to a court affidavit.
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The texts, which had been going on for about a year, were found on the teenager's Kindle tablet that was confiscated as evidence, police added.
In a text pertaining to the incident in question, the boy asked Shortey if there was anything he could do for him in exchange for cash, reports The Oklahoman. Shortey responded: "I don't really have any legitimate things I need help right now. Would you be interested in 'sexual' stuff?'"
Police were first notified by the boy's father, who had been contacted by his son's girlfriend, The Oklahoman adds.
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The son told his girlfriend that he was "going to get paid tonight," which caused her to fear that he might be "involved in illegal drugs." So she decided to follow him.
According to what she told police, she witnessed a man get into her boyfriend's vehicle, and then she tailed them to the Super 8 Motel.
When police arrived at the motel following the father's tip, the front desk manager told them that Shortey had rented the room for two adults. When Shortey was confronted by police at his room, he initially claimed to be alone, but eventually confessed that the teen was with him.
Police later discovered that the boy had a history of drug abuse, and had previously been involved in "soliciting himself on Craigslist for sexual conduct."
Shortey potentially faces three charges: soliciting prostitution of a minor, prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church, and transporting for the purpose of prostitution. Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn is awaiting the investigator's final report before pursuing criminal charges.
On March 15, Shortey was suspended by the state for disorderly behavior and has been stripped of his political privileges.
In a statement, Oklahoma GOP Chairperson Pam Pollard said: "We condemn the actions of Senator Ralph Shortey to the strongest degree. While we believe in the right to a fair trial and that all people deserve their day in court, the accusations against Ralph Shortey are in no way in line with the principles of the Oklahoma Republican Party."
Shortey, a father of two, was first elected in 2010 and later became a leader in Trump's primary campaign. After news of the incident became public, he deleted a picture of himself and Donald Trump Jr. from his Facebook page.