Ex-Priest in Sex Case to Be Freed This Week
Group Plans to Let Him Know It's Watching Him'

By Pat Adamson
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel [Neillsville Wisconsin]
March 17, 1996

When a former Catholic priest is released from jail this week he will get a reminder of who put him away for five years.

"I don't want him to forget me, because I will never forget him," said Alice Younger, of Medford.

Younger was a member of the Rev. Bruce Ball's parish when the 49-year-old priest was accused in 1991 of having sexual contact with boys, then ages 12 to 14, in the congregation. She also is a friend of the family of one of Ball's victims. A group of at least 10 people plans to greet Ball politely, possibly carrying signs, when he gets out of prison, Younger said.

"The main message is that we just want him to know we will be watching him," said Younger.

Ball admitted to a Clark County detective that he had sexual contact with at least four boys while he was priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Colby, according to court documents. Ball was ultimately convicted of sexually touching a boy during a counseling session and was sentenced to five years in prison.

Ball's attorney could not be located, and Ball could not be reached for comment.

He was a priest in parishes in Eau Claire, Marshfield, La Crosse and Wisconsin Rapids before working in Colby.

Ball tried to get released early from prison by writing to the judge who sentenced him. Ball wrote that he had completed an intensive three-month program for sex offenders.

The priest was offered a chance to enter another program in prison, but it required voluntary self-induced sexual stimulation. He said he couldn't participate in the program because it would violate his vow of celibacy, according to court records.

Upon his release Friday, Ball will participate in an intensive program for sex offenders, said Department of Corrections Public Information Director Bill Clausius.

Ball, who plans to live with relatives in La Crosse, will be on parole until December 1997. Also as a part of his parole, he is not allowed to have contact with anyone under the age of 18 without prior permission.

Tony Strevelen, who oversees the intensive program for sex offenders, said the program watches offenders closely as they are allowed back into society. The program includes the use of electronic monitoring and frequent visits, he said.


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