This story was updated at 10 a.m., Monday, Nov. 11, 2013.
A Gaithersburg voice coach accused of sexually abusing one of his students years ago was convicted by a jury Thursday of one count of child sex abuse.
At Timothy Ballard’s sentencing on Dec. 5, he could receive up to 25 years in prison.
“It’s disappointing,” said Michael McAuliffe, Ballard’s attorney, in an interview after the verdict was announced.
“On this one, I was surprised,” he said.
Ballard, he said, had been “pretty shook up” by the verdict.
According to police, Ballard, 48, of Goodport Lane, molested and violated one of his students when the boy was in the eighth grade.
Authorities learned of the abuse after the victim, who had been at a camp with some of Ballard’s other students, told them and a parent of Ballard’s actions.
The Gazette is not naming the accuser because he was the victim of sexual abuse.
The case was the subject of an earlier trial this year, which ended in a mistrial.
In the first trial, jurors learned that Ballard had a close relationship with his accuser and the boy’s family, and that the boy would sometimes sleep at his house after Friday voice sessions and then have class on Saturday mornings.
Ballard’s defense attorney, Michael McAuliffe, had argued that the case was baseless, brought on by an embarrassed and embittered ex-student.
Ballard and the boy had quarreled, McAuliffe said, because Ballard wanted the boy to pursue vocal studies in college instead of dance.
Jurors also learned that Ballard had yelled at the victim on two separate occasions — once, for teasing another student, and a second time, after the teacher learned that the student had engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with another boy backstage at a performance Ballard’s students were staging.
According to Ballard’s accuser, he and Ballard had known each other for years before the abuse took place, and that the two had cultivated a close relationship.
The teen said he had started taking semi-private vocal lessons with Ballard in 2007, when he was 10 or 11 years old.
The victim confided to Ballard that he was unsure whether he was bisexual, according to Ballard’s charging documents, and Ballard told the victim that he could help him “figure out who he was.”
In the trial, the boy said the abuse had taken place in Ballard’s basement studio and in his bathroom, and that Ballard had performed sex acts on him and then tried to place the boy’s hand on his genitals and get him to reciprocate but the boy declined.
In that testimony, he told lawyers that Ballard had been sitting “normally,” which McAuliffe had argued as part of his defense that the boy’s testimony would have been virtually impossible to carry out because Ballard was so obese that his genitals would have been covered by fat.
In the second trial, the victim explained that by sitting normally, he meant that Ballard had been “lounging” on a sofa.