Former Oklahoma state senator Ralph Shortey, 35, has pleaded guilty to a charge of child sex trafficking.
Shortey was elected to the Senate in 2010, and was an early endorser of Donald Trump. He served as county coordinator for Trump’s campaign.
However, his political career came to an abrupt end last March when he was caught in a motel room with a 17-year-old boy. He had offered the teen money for – in his own words in a message to the boy – ‘sexual stuff.’
Police had swooped following a tip-off from the boy’s father.
A subsequent FBI investigation found that Shortey had used pseudonyms on Craigslist in order to chat with a number of young men and send and receive pornography.
In exchange for pleading guilty to the child sex trafficking charge, three further charges relating to child pornography have been dropped.
By pleading guilty, he faces a minimum jail term of ten years. The maximum sentence is life. His trial was due to begin 5 December, but he will now plead guilty 30 November instead.
Shortey remains married to Jennifer Shortey, whom he has know since childhood. The couple have four daughters.
‘It is in my best interest and in the best interest of my family,’ he wrote in a signed statement on the guilty plea, according to News OK.