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Ratliff avoids jail after sleeping with baby-sitter

A plea bargain will allow a man who reportedly had sex with his teen-age baby-sitter to avoid jail time and being listed on the sexual offender registry.
The defendant, John Michael Ratliff, will have the entire episode erased from his criminal record after three years as he was granted a three-year judicial diversion after entering a no-contest plea to the reduced charge of reckless aggravated assault. He will also have to perform 50 hours public service and undergo a drug and alcohol assessment. The diversion means he has a guilty plea on his record but, provided he completes his three years on probation, his criminal record will be expunged.
Ratliff had originally been charged with the crimes of rape, which carries eight to 12 years in prison, and statutory rape, which carries one to two years in prison, for having sex with his 17-year-old baby-sitter.
The girl told investigators Ratliff and his wife came home one night after being out drinking. At some point in the evening, while the girl was still there watching the couple’s child and the defendant’s wife was sleeping, Ratliff forced himself on her.
District Attorney General Lisa Zavogiannis said the plea agreement was the best prosecutors could get under the circumstances.
“In part it was to allow the victim to avoid further trauma by having to testify against him,” Zavogiannis said, noting that was one of the primary reasons Ratliff was allowed to plea to a crime that did not land him on the sexual predator list.


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