A Blair man found guilty of first-degree sexual assault was sentenced to prison Tuesday in Washington County District Court.
Anthony D. Ratfield, 19, pleaded no contest June 11 to first-degree sexual assault, a Class 2 felony.
Judge John E. Samson sentenced Ratfield to six to 24 years in the Nebraska Department of Corrections. He is also required to lifetime registration on the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry.
Ratfield was given credit for 348 days served.
Prior to sentencing, Deputy Chief County Attorney Erik Petersen said after reviewing the presentence investigation, he didn't see the defendant as “a predator,” but someone who was acting out because he was a victim at one time.
Petersen sought a sentence of three to five years.
Ratfield's attorney, Joseph Howard of Omaha, offered the court a psychosexual evaluation provided by Dr. Kirk Newring, a licensed clinical psychologist in Papillion.
The report indicated Ratfield has not fully matured and the issues he is suffering from may not be longterm. However, Howard noted, that his client needs to be supervised for a long period of time. The report recommended intensive supervision until he is at least 28 years old.
“He has potential,” Howard said. “It's not a done deal. He can mature out of this.”
Howard asked for a term of probation.
“Anthony just needs help,” he said.
But under Nebraska law, Samson said, the longest term of probation he could sentence Ratfield to is five years. He added that the court could not count on a mental health commitment after probation.
Samson also noted Ratfield's criminal record, which included convictions for sexual assault in 2012, drug possession in 2015 and minor in possession and theft by receiving stolen property in 2017.
“For someone your age, you have a significant record,” he said.
The longer sentence, Samson said, would provide for a long period of parole supervision following Ratfield's release. Ratfield must serve a minimum of three to 12 years under Nebraska's Good Time Law.
Ratfield was arrested in September. According to the complaint, the alleged incidents occurred in 2012 and 2016 with victims who were born in 2002 and 2005. Details of the incidents were not available after the court sealed the arrest affidavit.