Shortridge gets probation for photos of teen models

by Jason Dietrich

The South Bay’s major Republican campaign consultant received three year’s probation after pleading no contest to charges that he knowingly took semi-nude photographs of two under-aged girls.

Tom Shortridge accepted two misdemeanor counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in the case which arose after police discovered photographs of two of Shortridge’s teenage employees in various states of undress in a search of his home and office.

The former head of the South Bay Republican Club will not have to register as a sex offender, but will be required to receive psychiatric counseling, apologize to the girls and their parents and perform 200 hours of community service. He is not allowed to be around girls under age 18 without the presence of another adult and was sentenced to 180 days in jail, which he would be required to serve if he breaks the rules of his probation.

Prosecutors said they agreed on the deal at a Wednesday, June 13 meeting to set a date for a preliminary hearing.

"We analyzed all the evidence in the case and after looking at all the facts, determined that this was the appropriate sentence in this case," said Deputy District Attorney Warren Kato.

Shortridge initially faced two misdemeanor charges of annoying or molesting a minor, one misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and a felony charge of using a minor for a prohibited act. He would have faced up to three years in jail for the felony count and a year each for each of the misdemeanors.

Many local Republican office holders, including Los Angeles Councilman Rudy Svorinich who ran unsuccessfully for state assembly last year, used the services of Shortridge’s political consulting firm, Bear Republic, during election season. Shortridge ran campaigns for Redondo Beach Councilman Gerard Bisignano, Mayor Greg Hill and City Attorney Jerry Goddard.

Redondo Beach police became aware of the photos after a girl told officers that a 16-year-old friend had posed partially nude for Shortridge. Police recorded a conversation between the two girls in which the underage model admitted to having posed for Shortridge.

Shortridge was arrested Feb. 21. Police had searched his Torrance home, taking a personal computer and photographs. He was released on $20,000 bail.

Shortridge photographed his 15-year-old and 16-year-old employees at their request, said Shortridge’s attorney, Tony Capozzola. Capozzola said the girls requested the "modeling-type" shoot and brought their own clothing. ER