Former Waynesville assistant football coach sex case postponed again
By: Darrell Todd Maurina
Posted: Monday, May 17, 2010 8:19 am
WAYNESVILLE, Mo. (May 17, 2010) — A 2008 case involving a former Waynesville High School assistant football coach accused of multiple cases of sexual misconduct with a female student that had been scheduled to go to trial next week has been postponed again.
According to court records, Scott S. Ballard, a Dixon resident who was 22 at the time of the first of three incidents for which he faces charges but is now 24, was scheduled to go to trial on May 27 and 28 in Maries County on a change-of-venue order because of extensive pretrial publicity.
However, court records indicate that at an April pre-trial hearing, due to trial commitments of both Pulaski County Prosecutor Deborah Hooper and defense attorney Scott McBride of the Rolla-based Thomas, Birdsong, Mills & McBride law firm, Circuit Judge Tracy Storie rescheduled the case for a Dec. 20 trial with a Dec. 6 pre-trial conference.
Last month’s postponement isn’t the first delay in the case. On Aug. 3 of last year, Hooper drove more than 40 miles one-way in a trip to Maries County Circuit Court in Vienna for a dismissal hearing which had been moved to that location due to extensive pre-trial publicity in Pulaski County. Storie had considered dismissing all charges in a hearing on that date.
The case was 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.”
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.
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.
Prosecuting the case will now be more complicated because the lead investigator, a long-term detective in the Pulaski County Sheriff’s Department who specialized in child sexual abuse cases, accepted a job last year in Texas.
Attempted statutory rape is a Class D felony punishable by a $5,000 fine and up to four years in state prison.
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.