Former Waynesville coach’s sex-with-student case set for trial next spring
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Monday, October 5, 2009 12:12 pm
VIENNA, Mo. (Oct. 5, 2009) — A former Waynesville High School assistant football coach will stand trial next spring on accusations of multiple cases of sexual misconduct with a female student.
Associate Circuit Judge John Wiggins decided during a brief Monday morning hearing that Scott S. Ballard, who is now 24 but was 22 years old at the time of the first of three incidents for which he faces charges, will have a two-day jury trial beginning May 27 of next year. A pre-trial hearing will be held on April 5.
Ballard has pleaded innocent to three Class D felony charges of second-degree attempted statutory rape of a Waynesville High School student, then 16, in connection with a series of three incidents in late 2007 that were reported to the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department on Jan. 16, 2008. None of the sexual activity alleged by prosecutors happened on school grounds, but happened at various locations in Pulaski County outside city limits.
Today’s hearing and the upcoming trial were scheduled for the Maries County Courthouse in Vienna due to extensive pre-trial publicity in Pulaski County.
The case was nearly dismissed two months ago by Circuit Judge Tracy Storie after Pulaski County Prosecutor Deborah Hooper took no action for more than a year. Ballard’s case was filed in early 2008 and transferred to Maries County on June 11, 2008. One year later, on June 12, 2009, Storie placed it on the dismissal docket after no action had been filed for twelve months. In a letter sent that day by Maries County Circuit Clerk Mark Buschmann to Hooper, Buschmann warned that “failure by you to contact the court or appear (for the Aug. 3 dismissal hearing) will result in the dismissal on this case.”
After Prosecutor Deborah Hooper drove more than 40 miles one-way in a trip to Maries County Circuit Court in Vienna for the dismissal hearing, Storie agreed to keep the case on the active trial docket. Today’s action is the next step in the process, and Assistant Pulaski County Prosecutor Dean Matthews was present for today’s court action, along with Ballard and his lawyer, Scott McBride, from the Rolla-based Thomas, Birdsong, Mills & McBride law firm.
Ballard appears to have a clean police record, according to online court records which show no other past or pending charges against him in Missouri, and he’s not listed by the Pulaski County sheriff as a registered sex offender which would be required if he had been convicted of similar offenses in other states. As with many other accusations of sexual misconduct, the allegations against him depend largely on the testimony of a single witness.
While the initial charges requested by the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department were second-degree attempted statutory rape, second-degree statutory sodomy, and second-degree sexual misconduct, Hooper decided to file all three cases as second-degree attempted statutory rape.
Attempted statutory rape is a Class D felony punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to four years in state prison. According to graphic details in the reports filed by the sheriff’s department detective assigned to the case, Ballard attempted to sexually penetrate the student on three separate days after partially undressing her but was unable to maintain sufficient sexual arousal to do so.
Waynesville school officials confirmed after the charges were filed that Ballard was no longer a school employee. Ballard posted bail by using a combination of a $70,000 property bond and a $30,000 surety filed by a local bail bondsman, with bail conditions including that he have no contact with the student.