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Council Bluffs business owner found guilty in total of eight counts of sex abuse involving minors and adults

Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 6:07 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A longtime Council Bluffs businessman has been convicted in federal court of sex trafficking.

James Ratliff was arrested in April 2020 and was accused of sexual abuse. He owned Jimmy’s All American Malt Shop & Grill in Council Bluffs.

The case went to federal court where he was convicted this afternoon of four counts of sex trafficking minors, two counts of sex trafficking adults, and two counts of providing victims drugs.

Over 10 years, he had children performed sex acts on him and his friends for money, drugs, and other things. Like giving girls alcohol, prescription Xanax, and Marijuana before and after they had sex in his home.

Evidence at the trial also showed Ratliff had been at this for a decade.

One of his alleged victims who testified against him shared her traumatic experience on social media. Claiming she was only eight years old when he groomed her and “sexually and mentally abused her from childhood through her teen years.”

Her emotional post also says Ratliff left her “with scars like trust issues, depression, anxiety, and PTSD.”

The feelings some Council Bluffs residents get walking in Jimmy’s All American Malt Shop & Grill is anything but comfortable. This is why some say they now refuse to support the business.

Ratliff’s family says the situation is disgusting and they’re saddened by it. Friends also say they used to think he was a great guy but now call him a “scumbag.”

Ratliff was investigated by Council Bluffs Police and the FBI. He’s expected to be formally sentenced on December 2.

When that happens, one of his alleged victims says he hopes he rots away. The federal penalty for sex trafficking is a minimum of 15 years behind bars or life in prison if the victim is younger than 14.

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