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Press Release

Council Bluffs Businessman Convicted of Sex Trafficking

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Iowa

COUNCIL BLUFF, IA – On Friday, July 23, 2021, Hershal James Ratliff, age 71, long time businessman and owner of Jimmy’s All American Malt Shop and Grill in Council Bluffs, Iowa, was found guilty of four counts of sex trafficking minors, two counts of sex trafficking adults and two counts of distributing a controlled substance to a person under twenty-one years of age. The verdict came after a four-day trial before United States District Court Chief Judge John A. Jarvey.

Evidence presented at trial showed that RATLIFF, over the last ten years, would have minor girls come to his house an perform sex acts on him and with his friends in exchange for money, drugs, and other material things. The testimony showed that Ratliff provided the minor girls with alcohol, prescription Xanax, and marijuana both before and after they participated in sex acts at his residence.

In addition, the evidence showed that Ratliff obtained sex acts for his friends from adult women by the use of force and coercion.  No sentencing date has been set.

The investigation was conducted by the Council Bluffs Police Department with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Acting U.S. Attorney Richard D. Westphal of the Southern District of Iowa made the announcement.


Rachel J. Scherle

Updated July 23, 2021

Human Trafficking
Drug Trafficking
Prescription Drugs