Former state Sen. Ralph Shortey has agreed to plead guilty to a child sex trafficking offense for offering to pay a 17-year-old boy for sexual “stuff” last March.
In exchange for his guilty plea, U.S. prosecutors have agreed to drop three child pornography counts against him.
His jury trial had been set to begin Dec. 5 in Oklahoma City federal court. He is now scheduled to plead guilty Nov. 30 instead.
By making a deal, Shortey, 35, hopes to avoid being locked up for most of the rest of his life. Still, he will be required to serve at least a 10-year prison term, the mandatory minimum time for child sex trafficking.
The maximum time for the offense is life in prison. U.S. District Judge Timothy DeGiusti will decide the punishment at a sentencing next year.
“It is in my best interest and in the best interest of my family,” Shortey wrote on plea paperwork signed Monday. He remains married to his high school sweetheart, his defense attorney said. They have four daughters.
The defense attorney, Ed Blau, negotiated the plea agreement for Shortey after reviewing the evidence and applicable case law.
“Mr. Shortey feels this is a necessary step in putting this painful and humiliating ordeal behind him, for both himself, his family and for the state of Oklahoma,” the attorney said Friday.
Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, was first elected in 2010 and was known for his offbeat legislative proposals that at times attracted national attention. He resigned March 22.
Shortey — who once planned to be a missionary — was investigated first by Moore police and then the FBI after being found with the teenager at the Super 8 in Moore about 1 a.m. March 9.
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