Sex offender on trial for rape and abuse of boys as young as 10 pleads guilty, gets 99 years

Ross Patrick Bernard

PONCHATOULA, LA – A man on trial for rape and sexual battery abruptly pled guilty this afternoon, cutting short his trial after one full day of deliberations.

Forty-one-year-old Ross Patrick Bernard pled guilty to two counts of forcible rape, seven counts of sexual battery, and one count of failure to make required notification as a sex offender, according to the office of District Attorney Warren Montgomery.

District Judge Martin E. Coady handed down a sentence of 99 years without the benefit of parole, probation, or suspension of sentence, with several of the sentences running consecutive to each other.

Bernard victimized more than seven children over a period of 20 years, according to Montgomery’s office.

A registered sex offender in Tangipahoa Parish, Bernard failed to register in St. Tammany Parish when he moved to Slidell in 2015, and some of the crimes involving boys as young as 10 occurred in Pearl River.

Bernard had originally turned down an offer of 40 years in prison, but changed his mind after hearing one full day of testimony from his victims, according to Montgomery’s office.

“I’m glad justice was served for all of the children he hurt,” the family member of one victim said at the sentencing. “He’s going to pay for what he did to all these children.”