Timothy Ballard convicted of child sex abuse
Updated: November 8, 2013 - 07:53 pm
GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WJLA) - A 12-member jury has handed down a guilty verdict against a well-respected vocal coach. Timothy Ballard, 48, of Gaithersburg, was convicted late Thursday evening on one count of child sexual abuse.
The professionally trained musician ran “Ballard Vocal Studios” from the basement of his former Gaithersburg home along Ramsdell Terrace. According to court documents, in the spring of 2008, Ballard inappropriately touched and performed fellatio on a then 12-year-old male student. The boy's father, who knew Ballard personally and professionally, hired the well-respected tutor in 2005 to develop his son's artistic talent, charging documents say.
“Child sex abusers groom their victims, groom the parents of the victims, so that it makes it so hard for them to believe this could ever happen to their child,” said Ramon Korionoff with the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office.
Investigators say the first sexual attack occurred in April or May of 2008 during a sleepover at Ballard's home. During the course of that night, Ballard asked the boy about his sexuality. The vicitm told his vocal coach he questioned whether or not he was bisexual. Ballard told the boy he could help him "figure out who he was." The then 43-year-old took the 12-year-old student into his basement composition studio and placed him on a couch next to his piano. Court documents vividly detail a grotesque sexual assault that re-occurred in a strikingly similar fashion between August and September of 2008.
“It always upsets me when something like this happens,” MCPS first grade teacher Stacey Lynch, Ballard's neighbor said. “Teachers are often put in a bad light whether it’s due to testing or curriculum or incidences like this one. That’s why we just have to go out there and do the best we can.”
In court this week, the jury was shown photographs of the computer where Ballard propositioned the boy for a third sexual encounter. The prosecution said Ballard asked three to four times, telling the victim, "he needed it." The boy however, refused each digital request.
In a unique twist of events, Ballard's defense team provided the jury with a picture of the 280-pound, 5'10 vocal coach standing in the doorframe of his former first floor bathroom. The visual was used to argue Ballard was too portly to enter the commode, where another assault is said to have happened. During testimony, Ballard suggested the victim's father hired him to help his son discover his true sexual identity.
Ultimately the jury sided with the now 18-year-old victim; a huge success for the State's Attorney's Office of Montgomery County as its first trial against Ballard ended with a hung jury.
"Parents trust teachers and coaches. This defendant abused the trust of parents. He sexually abused a 12-year-old boy and that is not acceptable. This jury sent a strong message that child sexual abuse will not be tolerated in the County," Korionoff added.
Investigators believe Ballard, who has tutored local students for nearly 10 years, has other victims who have yet to come forward. Police ask parents who hired the 48-year-old in the past to speak with their children.
Because Ballard has made every court appearance and posted bond, he is a free man until his Dec. 5 sentencing in Montgomery County District Court. On Wednesday he tweeted, "So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor." Ballard faces a sentence of up to 25 years in state prison.