PDT Staff Writer
Judge William T. Marshall has ruled a Scioto County man violated his parole by having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl. Wade Bales, 25, of 67 Jane Lane of Stout was in court Friday morning, because the Scioto County Probation Department says Bales’ consensual sexual relationship with the underage girl was in direct violation of the rules established when he was released from prison.
Bales had been sentenced in 2010 after being convicted of importuning and attempted pandering obscenity involving a minor. He became eligible for release from prison in 2011, and was placed under the Scioto County Probation Department, eventually under the supervision of Chief Probation Officer Nick Ferrara.
Ferrara testified Friday that Bales was instructed in the terms and conditions of probation, specifically that he was to have no contact with juveniles.
“Specifically on his terms of probation, under 15J, he was to have no contact with minors and register as a sex offender,” Ferrara said. “Based on the order from the court, he was ordered to have no contact with a minor. Also taking into consideration his prior record, I felt it was necessary to add it on to his general terms of probation so he would have that in writing.”
As the trial began Friday, Bales’ attorney Mike Mearan described that court order as vague, a point he also made in his summation.
The judge didn’t agree.
“I beg to differ with you,” Marshall responded. “I have it on the record exactly what I meant.” Marshall then offered to play back the transcript of the order.
“Does that mean you’ve made up your mind now, your honor?” Mearan said.
“I’m saying, don’t put this on me,” Marshall responded.
The alleged victim took the stand and talked about her relationship with Bales, saying she had known him for years, and most recently became more acquainted with him since her family began to attend Minford Church of the Nazarene, pastored by Wade Bales’ father, Mark Bales.
The relationship didn’t begin, the girl testified, until Bales texted her in November 2011.
“If I would kiss you, would you kiss me back?” the text read, according to the girl. She said she responded that “he was married, and needs to stick with his commitment.” As time passed, though, she said she blamed a poor self-image from a breakup with another man she had been dating, for eventually entering into a relationship with Wade Bales.
She said Bales made it clear early on that she was not to tell anyone because he would be in danger of going back to prison.
“I told him no for a while, and then I just didn’t want to deal with it anymore and I just gave in,” the girl said. “I was hurt, and he knew that, and his friendship with me continued to get more…” The witness paused. “He would tell me he had problems with his wife, and that we could be there for each other. And he knew that I was down, like I said before, and I just didn’t care anymore. I didn’t care about myself. I didn’t care who I hurt. It was just me feeling better at the time.”
She testified that Bales asked if he would go to prison, if she would wait for him after his three years were up.
Detective Jodi Conkel testified she was “very familiar” with Bales because of past incidences.
“I handled a case involving Mr. Bales where he actually had taken a picture of his penis and sent it to an underage girl on the telephone,” Conkel said.
Bales’ attorney defended his client, saying Bales broke no laws by having a consensual relationship with the 16-year-old girl.
“When this first came out there was an investigation by the (Scioto County) Children Services Board, in which the parents of the daughter were interviewed. They all indicated that they didn’t want it prosecuted, that they would take care of it themselves,” Mearan said in his opening statement. “The Sheriff’s Department investigated, there were no charges filed, but yet the Probation Office saw fit to file a violation, and Mr. Bales has been in the Scioto County Jail, and this is the 101st day. What is he in jail for? He’s in jail for having a consensual relationship with a young lady, age 16. There was no violation. In fact, there was no violation of any laws.”
Marshall ruled Bales has violated his probation and will return a decision in the case at another date.
Meanwhile, according to records in the Scioto County Clerk of Courts office, a civil lawsuit has been filed by the father of another underage girl against Minford Church of the Nazarene, Wade T. Bales and Mark Bales. That suit was filed March 21. It alleges during a time both the underage girl and Wade Bales were associated with the youth choir, “Wade Bales began a pattern of conduct inducing said minor child into certain behavior and Wade Bales exposed said child to carnal and sexually filled conversation and communications.”
The suit charges Mark Bales, as pastor of the church, was in a position to have forbade his son from participating in church-sponsored youth activities, of which the child mentioned in the suit was associated, putting her in a “dangerous position to be exposed to sexual advances of Wade Bales.”
The suit also claims Minford Church of the Nazarene is liable for the damages set forth because, “Board members of said church suspected such behavior by Wade Bales toward said minor child and failed to take proper action to prevent and avoid such conduct between the minor child and Wade Bales.”
The suit asks judgment on each claim in an amount in excess of $25,000 for compensatory damages and $250,000 for punitive damages, plus costs.
That suit was filed by Robert R. Dever. In an answer to the charges, attorneys for the church and Wade Bales and Mark Bales deny all allegations, except to admit that Mark Bales, as pastor of Minford Church of the Nazarene, had the authority to prevent Wade Bales from being involved in the church choir. The answer was filed by Gallagher, Gams, Pryor, Tallan and Littrell LLP, and was filed on May 12.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at email@example.com.