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Mar 24, 6:26 PM EDT

Former Oklahoma senator in court for child prostitution case


NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- A former Oklahoma state senator charged with child prostitution will have a preliminary hearing conference next month.

Ralph Shortey, an Oklahoma City Republican, made his first court appearance in the case Friday in Cleveland County District Court in Norman. The preliminary hearing was set for April 11 on charges of engaging in child prostitution, engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church and transporting a minor for prostitution.

Shortey did not speak to reporters as he entered and left the courthouse, and his attorney did not immediately return a phone call for comment.

Shortey was arrested last week at a suburban Oklahoma City hotel for allegedly hiring a 17-year-old boy for sex. A police report says officers acting on a tip from the boy's father found Shortey in the room with the boy.

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