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Cut-Off man convicted of raping teenager while mother was restrained nearby

Posted at 9:11 PM, Sep 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-01 22:11:47-04

Lafourche Parish District Attorney Kristine Russell recently announced that a Cut-Off man was found guilty of first degree rape and sexual battery by a Lafourche Parish jury.

Morgan Ratley, 55, and the victim's mother made contact online and formed a relationship that eventually resulted in Ratley moving into her home in Cut-Off. Ratley began to sexually assault the victim unbeknownst to the mother, according to authorities.

In July of 2019, Ratley restrained the victim's mother to a chair and raped the teenage victim in a separate room.

After two days, the victim and her mother were able to escape the home while Ratley was sleeping. The pair reported the incident to Lafourche Parish Sheriff's Office in which Ratley was subsequently taken into custody.

Authorities say the victim testified during the trial recounting the sexual abuse and fear she lived with at the hands of Ratley.

“I tried to fight against him the best I could, but he threatened to hurt my mom and my dog if I told anyone,” said the victim. “I took the pain, so no one else had to.”

The jury consisted of 12 individuals that deliberated for nearly one and a half hours prior to issuing a unanimous guilty verdict.

“The Victim’s testimony was extremely powerful,” said Assistant District Attorney Greg Stahlnecker, who prosecuted the case along with Assistant District Attorney Jason Chatagnier. “We felt her testimony, along with the forensic evidence and explicit images of the victim found on the defendant’s phone proved our case beyond a reasonable doubt, and we are happy the jury agreed. ”Stahlnecker continued, “She is an incredibly strong young lady, and the only good that could come from this was given to her when the jury found her abuser guilty.”

The three day trial was presided by The Honorable Christopher Boudreaux, who ordered that Ratley remain in law enforcement custody until his sentencing on October 19, 2022 at 1:30 p.m.

Ratley is facing a mandatory life sentence without the possibility of probation, parole, or suspension of sentence for the first degree rape conviction, and up to 10 years without the possibility of probation parole or suspension of sentence for sexual battery.