An Oklahoma state senator has been charged after police found him in a hotel room with a teenage boy.
Conservative Republican Ralph Shortey surrendered to authorities on charges of engaging in child prostitution, engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church and transporting a minor for prostitution.
Moore Police Department released a redacted report containing details of the incident at a motel involving Shortey, 35, and a 17-year-old boy.
Police said when they went to check on a juvenile after a tip-off from his father at the Super 8 in Moore, Oklahoma, officers could smell a “strong odour of raw marijuana” coming from the room they found the pair in.
Police say they found a backpack in the room which contained an open box of condoms.
According to an affidavit, the teenager told authorities that he and Shortey had known each other for about a year after meeting through a Craigslist personals advert.
A search of the teenager’s tablet revealed a series of sexually explicit exchanges in which Shortey referred to the teen as “baby boy” and offered him cash in exchange for “sexual stuff”, according to a police report.
As he arrived at the Cleveland County jail to surrender, Shortey told reporters: “I have no comment at this time but I will soon.”
Shortey, who is married with three children, has been suspended from all committees and can no longer occupy his office.
Oklahoma’s age of consent is 16, but the state’s prostitution statute applies to any person under 18 years old.