Police here are investigating why state Sen. Ralph Shortey was in a hotel room last Thursday with a teenage boy.
Police are reviewing text messages purportedly exchanged between Shortey and the teenager as part of the investigation, The Oklahoman has learned. Police became involved because of concerns raised by a relative of the boy.
Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn confirmed Tuesday he has received an initial briefing about the incident from a Moore police investigator. He said he is awaiting the investigator’s final report before deciding whether any criminal charges are warranted.
Shortey, 35, was questioned Monday by Moore police, the prosecutor said.
Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, was first elected in 2010. He has been married to his high school sweetheart since 2002. He studied in college to do mission work in Uganda. He instead went into the oil and gas industry and then into politics.
Police on Tuesday would not release a report on the incident. Police did, however, release a brief statement when asked directly for an incident report involving Shortey.
“On March 9 … officers of the Moore Police Department were contacted in reference to a welfare check at a local hotel,” Lt. Kyle Dudley told The Oklahoman. “Responding officers found a juvenile male in a hotel room which was also occupied by an adult male. The circumstances surrounding this incident are currently under investigation and no additional information can be released at this time.”
Shortey rented a room at the Super 8 in Moore for one night, checking in on March 8 and checking out March 9, a front-desk manager said. “It says two adults registered,” the manager said.
Police took pictures of the room Thursday, the manager said.
During his time in the state Senate, Shortey has often taken controversial stances. Most recently, he angered voters when he proposed undoing changes to drug laws approved at the polls last November.
“People basically did not know exactly how much of the statutes were being changed,” he said.
He also has taken on controversy as a political consultant. This year, he advised former state Rep. Dan Kirby, R-Tulsa, during a sexual harassment scandal at the Capitol. Kirby resigned after a special House investigative committee recommended his expulsion.
Contacted Tuesday afternoon, Shortey said he would have a response later.