Duncan Priest Case Litigant Killed in Motorcycle Crash

By Carla Hinton
Daily Oklahoman [Oklahoma City, OK]
July 20, 2002

A man who received a multimillion dollar settlement this past year from the Oklahoma City Archdiocese and a Toledo, Ohio-based Roman Catholic religious order died earlier this week in a motorcycle accident in Stephens County.

On Friday, a spokeswoman in the office of John M. Stuart, the Duncan attorney who represented Dennis Wayne Ballard in his lawsuit, confirmed that Ballard was the victim of a motorcycle accident Monday.

Funeral services for Ballard, 20, were Thursday in Duncan.

Ballard and his parents filed a lawsuit against the Rev. James Rapp, the Oklahoma City Archdiocese and the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales in Toledo alleging that Rapp molested Ballard and that both the archdiocese and the Toledo religious order had prior knowledge of the priest's troubled history with children.

According to court documents, the Ballards said Dennis Ballard was molested as a young teen by Rapp, who was a priest at Duncan's Assumption Catholic Church from 1991 until his arrest in 1999.

Rapp, 61, pleaded no contest in October 1999 to two Stephens County molestation charges. He was sentenced in December 1999 to two 20-year prison terms, to run consecutively, and fined $ 10,000 in each case. He is serving time at the James Crabtree Correctional Center in Helena.

The Washington Post reported in May that the archdiocese and the Toledo religious order paid Dennis Ballard more than $ 5 million in a secret settlement this past year.

According to the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Ballard was driving west about 1:20 p.m. Monday on State Highway 7 when a pickup driven north on Tucker Road by Brent Moore, 35, of Medicine Park pulled out from a stop sign.

The patrol said Ballard's motorcycle hit the passenger side of Moore's pickup. Ballard was not wearing a helmet, state troopers reported.


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