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  Priest Facing 26 Counts of Abuse
The Former Pastor of a San Bernardino Church Is Accused of Molesting Boys and Girls in the Mid-'80s

By Jacquie Paul
Press Enterprise [Riverside]
October 11, 1999

Aurora, Ill. — A priest who served nine months in jail in San Bernardino County for molesting two boys has been arrested on 26 new counts of molesting youths more than a decade ago, officials said Sunday.

Edward Lawrence Ball, 60, was arrested Friday at the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart monastery in Aurora, Ill., according to San Bernardino County sheriff's Deputy Tony Hernandez.

The new charges against Ball, former pastor of Our Lady of Fatima church in San Bernardino, involve boys and girls and cover a period between 1982 and 1988, Hernandez said. He did not know how many children were involved. Ball's arrest came as the result of a two-year investigation by San Bernardino County sheriff's detectives. A 1994 state law lifting the six-year statute of limitations on sex crimes was upheld last month by the state Supreme Court, making the new charges possible, Hernandez said.

Further details on the new charges were not available Sunday.

Father The Rev. Howard Lincoln, spokesman for the San Bernardino diocese, said, "We are deeply saddened by these allegations and our prayers are for any persons who may have been victimized."

The San Bernardino diocese encompasses Roman Catholic churches in Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Ball was among four priests who resigned from parishes within the diocese in 1992 and 1993 amid allegations of sexual misconduct. The other priests were: the Rev. Paul Nguyen, who resigned from St. Francis de Sales Church in Riverside after he was accused of sexual misconduct with a minor; the Rev. James Stauber, who left St. John's Catholic Church in Rubidoux after he was accused of having sex with a minor 22 years before; and the Rev. Rudi Gil, who left his post as pastor of St. Francis Roman Catholic Church in Lake Elsinore after he was accused of having sex with a minor in 1988.

Ball pleaded guilty to lewd contact with one altar boy and no contest to charges involving another boy in September 1992. The boys were ages 13 and 12 when the offenses came to light.

In court documents, the boys stated that they worked closely with Ball and often spent the night at his home. They said Ball gave them massages and tried to kiss them and fondle their genitals. Ball never forced himself on the boys and stopped his advances when they said no, records showed.

Parents of the two boys filed a lawsuit against the priest, church and diocese and settled out of court in December 1994. Details of the settlement were not released.

Lincoln said Sunday that the diocese had acted swiftly as soon as the allegations came to light.

"In September of 1992, Bishop Phillip Straling acted forcefully, quickly and decisively to remove Father Ed Ball from his post and to address the needs of the alleged victims. Father Ball has not been associated with our diocese since that time."

At the time, one of the parents said the church should have been more vigilant in taking action against Ball.

Ball said in the probation report that his involvement with the boys "occurred sporadically over a period of one year."

He said he stopped out of guilt.

"After I stopped, I never reported it. I had this terrible guilty feeling because it was not what my life should be," Ball said in the report.

"I'm sure they have a sense of betrayal," Ball said of his victims in court documents. "What I did maybe throws them over the line between love and hate. It's frustrating because there's nothing I can do but pray. I'll attend a sexaholic program for the rest of my life."

Ball told probation officials that he had been "involved with two teen-age boys who were altar boys" 13 years before.

After serving nine months at West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga, Ball stayed another nine months at St. Luke's Institute in Silver Springs, Md. Ball then went to work at the Illinois headquarters for the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart, the Rev. David Foxen, director of the missionaries said.

St. Luke's Institute specializes in treating addictive behavior, Foxen said. He said Ball does mostly administrative work at the monastery and is not allowed to deal with the public. He recently said Mass for a group of retired nuns, Foxen said.

Ball regularly sees a psychologist and every six months spends a week at St. Luke's for evaluation, Foxen said. "He was cooperating completely with the safety plan he has," Foxen said.

An extradition hearing is expected to take place today, Hernandez said.

 
 

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