By Jon Herskovitz
(Reuters) – An Oklahoma Republican state senator who campaigned as an advocate for family values was charged with felony prostitution on Thursday after authorities found him in a motel room with a teenager, county officials said.
Ralph Shortey, 35, was charged with three felonies, including child prostitution, the Cleveland County district attorney’s office said. Shortey, who has been serving since 2010, has not spoken to the media about the incident.
According to an arrest affidavit, police found Shortey and a 17-year-old, who was not identified, in a motel room in Moore, south of Oklahoma City, on March 9.
“Officers present observed a strong smell of marijuana coming from the room and within the room at the time of their contact with the defendant,” the affidavit reads.
The district attorney has asked that Shortey turn himself in before noon Thursday or he will face arrest, local media reported.
Shortey, a gun rights advocate who has taken a hard-line stance against abortion, was sanctioned by the Republican-dominated state Senate on Wednesday with a 43-0 vote for “disorderly behavior.”
The act imposed sanctions such as stripping him of his office, removing him from committee seats and canceling his reserved parking space.
Oklahoma Republican Party officials were not immediately available to comment on the charges.
Before the charges were filed, Oklahoma Democratic Party Chairman Mark Hammons asked Shortey to halt his official activities.
“It is too shameful for me to speak, vote or represent Oklahoma on any issue,” Hammons said in a statement.
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