Saturday, May 06, 2023

Appeals court: No new trial for sexually violent Carthage predator

A former Carthage resident won't get a second chance to convince a jury he is not a sexually violent predator.

The Missouri Southern District Court of Appeals this week rejected the appeal of Cory Ballard, 48, who remains in prison past the completion of his sentence until psychiatrists determine that it is safe to return him to society.

Ballard's history was recounted in the appellate panel's opinion:

In 2017, Ballard pled guilty to one count of first-degree child molestation and was sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment in the Missouri Department of Corrections. While serving his sentence, Ballard participated in the Missouri Sex Offender Program (“MoSOP”), which exists to provide “treatment, education and rehabilitation for all imprisoned offenders who are serving sentences for sexual assault offenses.” 

Ballard was terminated from MoSOP and received a conduct violation for forcibly touching the penis and thigh of another inmate in MoSOP. Before Ballard’s termination from MoSOP, Dr. Shawn Duffee evaluated Ballard to determine whether Ballard met the criteria of a sexually violent predator. 

Dr. Duffee concluded Ballard met the criteria and summarized his findings in an “End of Confinement Report.” The State then filed a petition in the Circuit Court of Jasper County alleging Ballard was a sexually violent predator and seeking his civil commitment under Sections 632.480 through 632.513. 

The trial court held a probable cause hearing and issued a written order finding the State proved probable cause. Ballard then requested a jury trial. Before trial, the State endorsed J.R. as a witness. Ballard moved in limine to exclude J.R.’s testimony, asserting J.R.’s testimony was irrelevant, cumulative of testimony to be offered by the parties’ expert witnesses, and offered only to inflame the jury against him. The State and Ballard acknowledged expert witnesses on both sides had reviewed and relied on records about Ballard’s crimes against J.R. The trial court denied the motion.

The trial court conducted a two-day jury trial. The State called two witnesses, Dr. Jason Lawrence and J.R. Dr. Lawrence, a psychologist with the Missouri Department of Mental Health who had evaluated Ballard, opined Ballard met the criteria for a sexually violent predator. 

Dr. Lawrence testified Ballard scored a 5 on the Static-99R, placing Ballard in the above-average risk range to be charged with or convicted of a sex offense in the future. Dr. Lawrence testified he considered Ballard’s past behavior in evaluating Ballard’s ability to control his behavior in the future. 

Dr. Ballard testified he reviewed and considered Ballard’s offense history, including that Ballard’s offense history is primarily with children. Dr. Lawrence testified about Ballard’s entire history of sexual offenses, starting when Ballard was 16 or 17 years old, including an uncharged allegation in California regarding J.R.’s friend; Ballard’s sexual offenses against his two stepsons in Missouri; and Ballard’s sexual offense against another inmate resulting in Ballard’s termination from MoSOP. 

Dr. Lawrence testified about Ballard’s sexual offenses against J.R. in California. The trial court admitted and the State published to the jury Exhibit 26, which consisted of Dr. Lawrence’s summary of Ballard’s sexual offenses, including against J.R. 

Over Ballard’s objection, J.R. testified at trial as to multiple sexual offenses Ballard committed against her in California from about 1996 to 1999, from when she was around six years old until she was almost 10 and revealed the abuse at school, resulting in Ballard’s arrest and later conviction and imprisonment in California. 

J.R. testified Ballard was her mother’s friend and would help her mother, a single parent, with shopping, babysitting, and other tasks around the home. J.R. described multiple instances of Ballard’s sexual abuse, including one incident where Ballard touched her vagina, another where he fondled her breasts, and a third incident where Ballard forced her to perform oral sex on him. J.R. recalled Ballard would rub his penis around her vaginal area, resulting in cuts in her vaginal area and pain when she urinated. J.R. identified photos of herself at ages seven through nine, around the time Ballard abused her, and the trial court admitted those photos without objection as Exhibits 5-7.


Ballard called his own expert witness, Dr. Luis Rosell. Dr. Rosell testified, like Dr. Lawrence, that Ballard scored a 5 on the Static-99R, but Dr. Rosell testified Ballard did not meet the criteria for a sexually violent predator because he did not suffer from a mental abnormality. 

Dr. Rosell opined that Ballard had completed the majority of the MoSOP program, and that just because someone has an attraction they need not act on it and that he believed Ballard would be able to control his behavior if released. 

Ballard also testified. As to J.R., he testified: “[E]verything she says is true.” He testified his abuse of J.R. started with kissing and hugging and progressed to him fondling her genital area, him penetrating her with his finger and penis, and him performing oral sex on her and making her do the same to him. 

Ballard also testified about his other sex crimes against children, including against his two stepsons in Missouri. 

Ballard further testified: 

[State:] Are you sexually attracted to children? 

[Ballard:] I have fantasized about them in the past, so I would say I am. 

[State:] Okay. So you’re saying that today you’re sexually attracted to children? 

[Ballard:] I would say that I am. 

[State:] All right. And that’s the first time you’ve admitted that in this case; correct? 

[Ballard:] No. [State:] Okay. Well, during your deposition, you said that you weren’t sexually attracted to children; right? 

[Ballard:] Yeah. 

[State:] And when you were asked: Have you ever been sexually attracted to children, you said no. Correct? 

[Ballard:] Yeah.

The jury returned a verdict finding Ballard to be a sexually violent predator. The trial court entered judgment on the jury’s verdict and committed Ballard “to the custody of the director of the Department of Mental Health for control, care and treatment until such time as [Ballard’s] mental abnormality has so changed that he is safe to be at large.”

The appellate panel rejected Ballard's contention that the judge erred in allowing his California victim to testify, saying it onlyi served to inflame the jury.


Anonymous said...

Here We Go Again. It is a Proven Fact that most Criminals "CANNOT" Be Rehabilitated - Especially Sexual Pedophiles. Our Politicians, Judges, Prosecuting Attorneys, Psychologists, Doctors, Jurors, and John-Q-Public- - all think these Pedophiles can be Cured and Rehabilitated to Re-Enter Society. We can make them take a Class in Prison and they are Magically Cured, this is so far from the Truth - - but we all want to Believe this can Happen. NO IT CANNOT!!!

When the Reality is - - Research shows pedophiles have a high rate of repeat offenses – with study statistics varying between 65 and 80 percent. That means that at least 3 out of 4 Pedophiles will Re-Offend.

Do you want to Live Next Door to one of these Pedophiles and Fear your Children may be their Next Victim???

So let's Vote in Politicians, Judges, Prosecuting Attorneys, that are Tough on Criminals and are willing to Serve the Needs of the Public they Represent and make John-Q-Public aware that the Majority of Criminals will Re-Offend.

Plus - if you want to Check the National Sex Offender Registry Website to see if a Sex Offender Lives Near You - they are Required to Register - - Yet as we have found out this does not always happen...

The National Sex Offender Public Website—coordinated by the Department of Justice—enables everyone to search the latest information from all 50 states, try this Site - You Will be Surprised - with the Number of Sex Offenders - Just Copy and Paste this URL and do your Search - Protect your Family / Children.

Here is the Sex Offender Registry for Missouri.

Here is the Sex Offender Registry for Kansas.

Stop Feeling Sorry for the Criminals and Start Feeling Sorry for the Victims...

Anonymous said...

So nice to see a comment from a someone that has common sense and can see the big picture. Keep the facts coming maybe we can wake some people up.