Former minister, Vicksburg resident pleads guilty to 1970s sex abuse

Published 11:40 am Friday, April 15, 2022

A retired Methodist minister and Vicksburg resident has pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 10-year-old girl nearly 50 years ago.

According to reports, Dural R. Ragsdale, 74, entered his plea Monday in 1st District Circuit Court in Iuka. He received a 10-year suspended sentence, was placed on five years of supervised probation and is required to wear an ankle monitor. He must also register as a sex offender. He had been out on bond prior to his court appearance.

Ragsdale surrendered to authorities in Tishomingo County in October 2019 after he was indicted in September of that year on a felony charge of fondling a child under 14.

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When Ragsdale turned himself in, District Attorney John Weddle said in the indictment that the abuse happened sometime between 1974 and 1975, when Ragsdale was a youth minister at Iuka United Methodist Church.

In reports by the Associated Press, Ragsdale previously denied to The Clarion-Ledger, that he abused the girl while describing sexual contact he said happened “one time” because of a “curious” child.

Ragsdale named the girl in his comments to the newspaper, and the newspaper said key details of their stories align.

The woman, now in her 50s and living in West Virginia, said she tried to press charges for years.

Ragsdale, who was once pastor of Porter’s Chapel United Methodist Church, retired in 2013.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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