AKRON, Ohio - On Wednesday morning, Judge Tammy O'Brien sentenced Roger Ball, 65, to 35 years to life in prison. A jury convicted him of one count of rape, one count of sexual battery and five counts of gross sexual imposition.
Ball, who was also found to be a Tier 3 sex offender, received the maximum sentence.
"You systematically, and over an extended period of time, abused multiple children, at least some of whom had special needs. Your actions were truly horrific and you deserve severe punishment," Judge O'Brien said.
Ball was a foster parent who committed sex crimes against five boys between the ages of 5 and 11 from 2007 to 2010 at his Akron home on Holly Avenue.
The crimes came to light when one of the victims reported the abuse in 2010.
"Roger Ball committed just horrific acts, in my opinion. Disgusting, what he did and the way he abused these boys," said Summit County Prosecutor Sherri Bevan Walsh.
One of the victims wrote a letter to the judge which was read by a victim advocate. The child wrote, "I can't explain how I have to feel like an outsider because of what you have done to me and this will stick with me the rest of my life. You really hurt me."
Two mothers of victims also addressed the court.
With her voice quivering, one mother said, "You and only you took away my baby's innocence, his respect for himself, his dignity, his pride."
The second mother also delivered a message to Ball. "I hope that everything that has come to light, which you have done in the dark, was worth what you're getting now." she said.
Ball had been a foster parent to more than 40 children since 2004, according to Summit County Children Services. Since this case went public, prosecutors said a sixth victim has come forward and investigators said there could be more.
"Frankly, even at this point in time, we'd be very interested if somebody else has been victimized by Roger Ball," Bevan Walsh said.
John Saros, executive director of Summit County Children Services, said a background check was done on Ball and it came back clean. Prosecutors said he had no prior record.
Prior to a young victim coming forward, Saros said the agency investigated reports, made by people outside of the home, of possible abuse by Ball, but the allegations couldn't be proven.
"Of course, he as the perpetrator, was denying them. The children were denying that anything happened," Saros said. He also hopes the crimes committed by the former foster father don't overshadow the good work done by hundreds of foster families in Summit County.
"We have hundreds of foster families who work diligently and ethically and who have their hearts filled with compassion and love for the children," Saros said.
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