Priest Who Pleaded Guilty to Misdemeanor Assigned to Highland Springs
Richmond Times Dispatch [Norfolk VA]
May 11, 2003
The Rev. Wayne L. Ball, a Norfolk priest who pleaded guilty late last year to a misdemeanor sex offense, has been reassigned to St. John's Catholic Church in Highland Springs, according to The Catholic Virginian, a biweekly diocesan newspaper. The move is effective June 2.
Ball, 42, has served as pastor of Norfolk's Holy Trinity Catholic Church since 2000. The current pastor at St. John's, the Rev. David V. McGuire, will replace Ball at Holy Trinity.
In December, Ball pleaded guilty in Norfolk General District Court to the misdemeanor charge of frequenting a bawdy place. Norfolk police arrested Ball and a 41-year-old Richmond man on the night before Thanksgiving in a parked car in a Norfolk park. The judge continued Ball's case until July 8 and will dismiss the charge if the priest has no further criminal problems and completes 80 hours of community service by June 3. The man in the car with Ball received a similar deal.
Reached by telephone yesterday, Ball said he has been treated unfairly by the media - "one of the reasons I'm moving is because people like you won't leave me alone," he said.
A Danville native ordained in 1989, Ball previously served as parochial vicar at two Richmond-area churches. His first assignment was at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Henrico County. In 1992, he moved to St. Edward the Confessor Catholic Church in Bon Air. He was pastor of St. Gerard Catholic Church in Roanoke from 1994 until he went to Norfolk's Holy Trinity in 2000.
Ball will be the second Catholic priest who recently pleaded guilty to a sex crime to serve at St. John's in Highland Springs.
In February, the Rev. John P. Blankenship, who served at St. John's from 1973 to 1977, pleaded guilty in Prince George County to four counts of sodomy. The charges stemmed from incidents that occurred after Blankenship's time at St. John's.
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