Sequim man charged in Florida with child molestation

PORT ANGELES — A Sequim man has been charged in Florida with two counts of child molestation for alleged crimes that occurred there between 2012 and 2015, court papers said.

James Lee Ballard, 52, was charged Jan. 28 with single counts of lewd or lascivious molestation of a person under 12 and lewd or lascivious molestation of a person under 16.

He is being held in the Alachua County, Fla., jail on $250,000 bond.

According to a motion to reduce his bond, Ballard had been working in Port Angeles since March 2015.

Ballard booked a flight to Florida and surrendered Monday after he was advised that charges had been filed against him and an arrest warrant had been issued, the motion stated.

The charges stemmed from alleged sexual abuse that occurred in Florida sometime between 2012 and May 16, 2015, court papers said.

The alleged victim told investigators that he was between the ages of 10 and 13 when the crimes occurred, according to the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office investigation.

The Ocala Star-Banner reported Monday that Ballard was working as a substitute teacher and health clinic assistant at a Marion County, Fla., elementary school when the alleged sexual abuse occurred.

Investigators said the abuse happened during Bible studies and that Ballard used biblical scripture to ask for the boy’s forgiveness, the Ocala newspaper said.

An Alachua County judge denied Ballard’s motion for a reduced bond Tuesday.

A second motion for a bond reduction was filed Friday. A hearing on that motion is scheduled for Tuesday.

Ballard was born in Florida and lived in Marion County off and on for several decades, according to the first motion to reduce his bond.

Ballard was scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 26.

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected] dailynews.com.

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