Convicted sex offender accused of repeating same offense

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August 8, 2006

A man convicted of a lewd sex act on a 7-year-old girl is back in jail, accused of committing the same crime.

This time the victim was ten years old.

20-year-old Blake Morris Bratcher was convicted last October for a lewd act on a minor. Now, eleven months later, Bratcher is back in custody facing the same charge, as well as charges of first degree criminal sexual assault and violation of parole.

Blake Morris Bratcher is already listed on the South Carolina sex offender registry for a sexual assault he committed when he was fifteen. Five years later, he is charged with another sexual assault against a ten-year-old Langley girl.

"In the most recent charges, in late July against Mr. Bratcher, he is charged with lewd act upon a child under the age of sixteen and with criminal sexual conduct in the first degree," says Inv. Charles Barranco of the Aiken County Sheriff's Office.

At only twenty years old, Bratcher has an extensive criminal record.

In 2005 Bratcher faced charges for his first sexual assault in 2001 on a girl who was seven years old at the time. Bratcher pled guilty to a lewd act upon a child and received five years probation. As part of his plea deal, the charge of first degree criminal sexual assault upon a minor was dropped.

In February, he was arrested and charged with possession of methamphetamine, as well as manufacturing meth. After spending a few nights in jail, he was released on $25,000 bond.

But before he could appear in court to face these drug charges, he was arrested on Saturday in Gloverville.

He faces charges that are all too familiar: first degree criminal sexual conduct against a ten year old girl. He also faces a charge of a lewd act upon a child for the same incident. His bond was denied.

Inv. Barranco is helping to work the case, and he has a message for the Aiken community.

"I will say to law enforcement and the citizens to be vigilant and keep your eyes on your children and be aware of your surroundings," he says. "That really is the key to the sex offender registry--to make people aware and know what to watch for."

Bratcher will remain in jail until his trial on these latest charges.

The new South Carolina law that lets prosecutors ask for the death penalty for some sex offenders does not apply in this case.

Since Bratcher's first conviction was on a lesser charge, he is not subject to the new law.