A birther and member of Donald Trump’s leadership team in Oklahoma is under investigation after police say he was found with an underage teenage boy in a motel room.
State Senator Ralph Shortey, 35, who represents Oklahoma City, was found with a teenage boy in a motel in the town of Moore on the night of March 9, police say. Shortey is facing three charges: soliciting prostitution of a minor, prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church and transportation for the purposes of prostitution. A vote was taken on March 15 in the Oklahoma Senate that removed practically all of Shortey’s privileges.
Police had been called to the motel to do a welfare check.
In September 2015, Shortey was named as one of the members of Donald Trump’s leadership team in Oklahoma. Shortey was a proponent of a bill that requires presidential candidates to provide their birth certificate in order to get on the ballot in Oklahoma, reports the Oklahoman.
Here’s what you need to know about Senator Ralph Shortey:
1. Shortey Asked for ‘2 Beds’ When He Checked Into the Super 8, Police Say
KOCO reports that Shortey checked into a Super 8 and asked for two beds at around 12:20 a.m. on March 9. Police showed up at the motel to perform a welfare check before 1 a.m.
The station reports that a note outside of Shortey’s office says that he will be absent for the week.
The Oklahoman reported that police are investigating text messages between Shortey and the minor. The newspaper adds that it was a relative of the minor who raised the concerns. The Super 8’s manager told the Oklahoman that two adults were registered as staying in the room.
State Democratic Chairman Mark Hammons has called for Shortey to suspend himself. Hammons said in a statement: “While a final resolution should await completion of the police investigation, Sen. Ralph Shortey owes it to his constituents and all taxpayers to suspend himself from all official activities. This is far too embarrassing to have him speak, vote or represent Oklahoma on any issue.”
While Shortey’s party has also condemned him. 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.”
2. Shortey Has Been Married to His High School Sweetheart Since 2002 & Was the President of a YMCA Youth Group
According to his official bio, Shortey married his high school sweetheart, Jennifer, in 2002. Shortey refers to his wife as Jenni on his Facebook page.
The couple has two children. The family lives in southern Oklahoma City. Shortey is a member of the Rosebud Sioux Indian Tribe and spent part of his childhood growing up on a reservation. His bio adds that he is currently studying for a degree in finance and economics. KWTV’s Grant Hermes reports that Shortey had been the president of the YMCA Youth and Government group in Oklahoma but resigned the position after the March 2017 allegations emerged.
The caption that accompanied Shortey’s photo with Donald Trump Jr. reads:
Was honored to have lunch today with Donald Trump Jr. and some very influential and passionate business leaders in our state.
Loved hearing the war stories from the campaign trail and what the next phase is in restoring our republic. Looking forward to an exciting future and hope to be a big part of it.
He’s an extremely electric guy with a magnetic personality. And, like his dad, very humble man with a true passion to make our country better.
In 2014, reality TV personality Dog the Bounty Hunter campaigned for Shortey.
3. Shortey Made National News in 2012 When He Proposed a Bill Banning Human Fetuses From Being Used in Food
In January 2012, Shortey made national news when he proposed a bill that would ban human fetuses from being used in food. In an interview with the Oklahoman, Shorey said:
People are thinking that this has to do with fetuses being chopped up and put in our burrito. That’s not the case. It’s beyond that.
There are companies that are using embryonic stem cells to research and basically cause a chemical reaction to determine whether or not something tastes good or not.
As a pro-life advocate, it kind of disturbed me that we would use aborted embryos or aborted human fetuses to extract stem cells and use them for research to basically make things taste better.
The FDA said after the bill was proposed that they were not aware of a concern involving human fetuses being used in food. The senate president, Brian Bingman, also a Republican said of the bill, “You can’t control what a guy does when he files legislation. It’s all a process, and at the end of the day you want to look at the final bills that are actually passed and signed by the governor.”
4. Shortey Said During His Run for Senate President: ‘I Think Leadership Needs to be Bottom-Up’
During his time at Heartland Baptist Bible College, Shortey did missionary work in Uganda. After his return and prior to moving into politics, Shortey worked for the oil and gas industry, working in production, reports the Oklahoman. Shortey’s official bio says he graduated from West Moore High School in 2000.
Shortey was first elected to Oklahoma’s State Senate in 2010. KGOU reported in April 2016 that Shortey was seeking to be elected as the senate’s president. He was quoted at the time as saying, “I think leadership needs to be bottom-up.” Shortey’s seat is up for re-election in 2018.
5. His Political Priorities ‘Include Personal Liberty & Fighting Illegal Immigration’
Shortey’s official senate bio reads, “Shortey’s priorities in the Legislature include personal liberty, fighting illegal immigration and strengthening public safety in Oklahoma.” He is known to be an opponent to the Oklahoma senate’s ban on firearms inside of their building.
Shortey is also known to be an opponent of the criminal justice reform that was passed in a referendum in Oklahoma in November. He said in February 2016 about the changes to drug laws, “People basically did not know exactly how much of the statutes were being changed.” The Oklahoman reports that Shortey served as an advisor to state Rep. Dan Kirby as Kirby faced sexual harassment allegations.
Shortey wants to abolish the court of criminal appeal in Oklahoma.