- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
A Lexington Park man faces a possible maximum sentence of 30 years in prison after he acknowledged Wednesday in court that prosecutors have evidence that he raped a 13-year-old girl last spring and committed a third-degree sexual offense with another girl.
St. Mary’s grand jurors indicted Cameron A. Ball, now 22, on the second-degree rape charge. St. Mary’s Assistant State’s Attorney Julie White said in court the assault took place after Ball, a convicted sex offender, contacted the teenager through a Facebook account that he set up for that purpose.
St. Mary’s detective Cpl. William Raddatz was checking on Ball’s use of social media, the prosecutor said, when a parent complained that Ball was sending emails to her daughter. That was followed by more complaints from seven parents about Ball trying to “hook up” with their daughters through Facebook.
The 13-year-old victim met Ball through Facebook, and Ball later spoke to her about getting together to have sex, according to the prosecutor. Charging papers allege that Ball and the girl had intercourse and engaged in other sexual acts at an apartment in a Hermanville area neighborhood.
“He knew how old she was,” White said.
As a convicted sex offender, Ball had failed to comply with a law that he properly register any Facebook account, including the one that he had “surreptitiously” set up to contact the girls ranging in age from 12 to 16, the prosecutor said. A 14-year-old girl reported that Ball contacted her through Facebook, and that she was visiting her grandmother last April when Ball called her over to his home and forced her to perform a sexual act after she went into the kitchen, according to the prosecutor.
“She was upset, concerned and didn’t know what to do,” White said.
Sean Moran, Ball’s public defender, contested the claim that his client set up the Facebook account to pursue the illegal conduct.
“It wasn’t set up specifically to do that,” Moran said during the plea hearing.
The defense lawyer also said his client denied forcing the 14-year-old girl to perform a sexual act.
“He denies forcibly doing anything to anyone,” the lawyer said.
St. Mary’s Circuit Judge Michael Stamm told Ball that the sentencing guidelines range is eight to 19 years for “both cases combined,” but that the court can go outside those guidelines. Ball returned to jail to await the results of a presentence investigation by the state division of parole and probation.
The prosecutor said the plea agreement calls for the dismissal of an indictment charging Ball with soliciting another girl last March to engage in unlawful activities, a charge filed by grand jurors after the detective filed initial district court papers alleging that Ball sought “to ‘hook up’ [with a 12-year-old girl] in order to be ‘friends with benefits,’ ... terms [that] are common vernacular for engaging in sex acts.”
“This is a compromise,” Stamm said of the plea agreement.