A former Augusta Safety Officer will face two counts of Aggravated Indecent Liberties with a Child under 16 at his trial on Nov. 5, 2013.
After a preliminary hearing that lasted for more than three and a half hours, Judge David Ricke bound former Jerry Ballinger, 44, over for trial. He will remain out of jail on a $50,000 bond.
All of the testimony at Monday’s hearing either came from the minor who alleges she had sexual intercourse with Ballinger twice or from those who interviewed her after the alleged encounters.
The girl, who got to know Ballinger through the Junior Firefighter program, denied anything inappropriate had happened with Ballinger when she was first interviewed in April.
The interview with Augusta Safety Department Captain Bruce Relph occurred after Chief Tyler Brewer asked Relph to investigate the relationship between the girl and Ballinger after her father had come to the station looking for his daughter.
At that point, the girl admitted the two were friends. She said they talked about Ballinger’s feelings after losing his father and his family issues. She confided in him about some of her problems in her family.
The two would go sit in his vehicle and talk or text frequently.
She said she was at his home for one of his children’s birthday parties. She said Ballinger and his wife fought at that party and he even pointed a gun at his wife and she threatened to call the police.
But despite spending time together alone and texting, she said that nothing sexual had happened.
On July 9, 2013, the girl spent most of the day being questioned about Ballinger again. She finally told Relph that she and Ballinger had sex twice – once in April and once in late June.
After Chief Brewer again had reason for concern, he asked Capt. Relph to speak with the girl again. On the morning of July 9, 2013, she denied everything again. But this time, the girl said Chief Brewer called her father at work and asked him to bring her back to the station.
When they arrived, she was interviewed by Brewer and his secretary Colleen Beckley in the chief’s office. She was denying any wrongdoing again and Brewer told her she may have to take a lie detector test to prove that nothing was going on.
She said she began crying and Brewer left her with Beckley for 10-20 minutes. When Brewer returned, she admitted to the two encounters. Relph was called back in and conducted another interview with her and when she told him that she and Ballinger had sexual intercourse in his Red Hummer on a dirt road outside of Augusta, Relph took her to a detective with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office to do the final interview. She was interviewed about the circumstances again and again she recalled the two encounters where Ballinger took her to run errands and eat lunch in Wichita. On the way back, he allegedly pulled off the highway onto a dirt road and the two talked for a time before he kissed her, groped her and then crawled over to her side of the vehicle where the two had intercourse.
Page 2 of 2 - The next court date for this case is Nov. 1 at 9 a.m. for the pretrial conference. The trial is expected to begin on Nov. 5 and last about three days.