GREENVILLE — A man stood trial on two counts each of gross sexual imposition, a third-degree felony, and rape, a first-degree felony, in Darke County Common Pleas Court Thursday. Judge Jonathan P. Hein delivered his verdict in the case on Friday afternoon.
Donald Ballard, 76, of Greenville, was convicted on both counts of gross sexual imposition. Judge Hein dismissed one count of rape for lack of evidence and found the defendant not guilty on the remaining count. The defendant was sentenced to 18 months incarceration and five years of post-release supervision by the Darke County Office of Adult Probation.
Ballard stood accused of inappropriately touching two young girls, ages 6 and 7, while they were spending the night at his home on March 31, 2018. The grandmother of the alleged victims testified during the trial that she was with Ballard and her granddaughters during most of their stay, only stepping out for approximately 15 minutes to run some errands. She further said less than five minutes after dropping the girls off at their mother’s home the following morning, she received a text message from the mother saying Ballard had touched the girls inappropriately.
The younger alleged victim became emotional on the stand, testifying that Ballard had touched her inappropriately that evening while her grandmother was out of the house. During cross-examination, however, defense attorney Randall Braeden said the girl had made inconsistent statements to police officers, initially saying the abuse had taken place on the morning of April 1, 2018 while her grandmother was present. The second alleged victim testified the defendant had touched her inappropriately while being questioned by Darke County Assistant Prosecutor Deborah Quigley but said he had merely spanked her when cross-examined by Braeden.
Quigley then played several portions of a videotaped interview between Ballard and a Greenville police detective. In the video, Ballard admitted to spanking the girls but initially denied touching them in a sexual manner. After the detective asked him repeatedly whether he might have touched the girls accidentally, however, he conceded that he might have done so.
“It could’ve happened. I’m not saying it did,” Ballard said. “I’m just telling you what I think might have happened.”
Sexual assault kits were taken from both alleged victims and tested at the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Identification in London. A forensic scientist from BCI confirmed that DNA matching that of the defendant was found inside the undergarments of at least one of the girls, though she admitted under cross-examination that, while unlikely, it was possible the DNA may have come from casual contact.
Finally, Ballard himself took the stand. Ballard once again admitted to spanking the girls but denied touching them in a sexual manner. He also said he handled the girls’ clothing after they changed outfits the next morning. Ballard allegedly suffers from confusion and memory loss as a side effect of various medications and said he did not to remember many of the statements he’d made to police.
As a Tier II sex offender, Ballard must report any residence where he works, resides or attends school to the chief law enforcement officer in his county of residence every six months for the next 25 years following release.