Ex-foster father gets life in prison for sexual abuse of children

By Ed Meyer
Beacon Journal staff writer

A former foster father was sentenced to life in prison without eligibility for parole for 35 years in a child-sex case involving five boys once under his care.

Roger H. Ball, 65, of Akron, was convicted of one count of rape, one count of sexual battery and five counts of gross sexual imposition in a Summit County jury trial in May.

He essentially will spend the rest of his life in prison.

He was sentenced Wednesday by Common Pleas Judge Tammy O’Brien, who called his crimes “truly horrific.”

“You systematically, and over an extended period of time, abused multiple children, at least some of whom had special needs. And instead of accepting responsibility for your actions, you have blamed the victims,” O’Brien told Ball.

“You concocted an elaborate conspiracy theory that supposedly occurred between children that never knew, or barely knew, each other. It was the children’s stories, however, and not your fabrications, that were believed by the jury in this case.”

Ball was given 10 years to life for rape and five years for each of the gross sexual imposition convictions.

O’Brien ordered those sentences to run consecutively, for a total of 35 years before Ball would be eligible to appear before the Ohio Parole Board.

After a lengthy investigation by Akron police detectives, Ball was arrested in March 2011. His offenses began in January 2007, according to details in his indictment.

Allegations surfaced in June 2010, when one child reported being fondled.

All of his victims were under the age of 13.

The rape victim was 11 years old, Summit Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh said.

Walsh escorted the mother of one of the victims, who stood at the bench and tearfully addressed the court before sentencing.

“I hope that every day you’re in a prison cell, you feel nothing but pain,” the woman said. “You, and only you, took away my baby’s innocence, his respect for himself, his dignity and his pride.

“The one thing you won’t take from us is his willingness to survive, to move on and get through this and live again.”

Ball made no comment to the judge or families of the victims, saying only that he intends to appeal his convictions.