Wednesday, November 15, 2000

Teacher accused of rape of girl, 12, he met online




By Dan Horn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        When a teacher was arrested in Cincinnati for trying to lure a teen-age girl into sex, prosecutors said they were fortunate to catch him before he harmed a child.

        Now they say his arrest may have come a month too late.

        The teacher, Stephan Ballmann, was indicted Tuesday on charges of raping a 12-year-old White Oak girl he met on the Internet.

        Prosecutors say Mr. Ballmann, a fifth-grade physical education teacher from Columbus, had sex with the girl last month after arranging a meeting with her through an Internet chat room.

        “Parents have to be very careful about what their children are doing on the Internet,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen. “There are, unfortunately, sick people out there who prey on children.”

        Mr. Allen said Hamilton County sheriff's investigators linked Mr. Ballmann to the 12-year-old girl after he was accused last week of attempting to lure another girl into sex.

        The investigators found evidence in Mr. Ballmann's home computer suggesting he had contact with the girl from White Oak, Mr. Allen said. He said police then questioned the girl and learned about the sexual relationship.

        Mr. Ballmann was arrested in Columbus on Tuesday. He faces up to 10 years in prison if he's convicted of raping the girl.

        He faces another 1 1/4 years if he's convicted of attempting to lure another girl into sex. That girl, however, was really a sheriff's investigator pretending to be a young girl on the Internet.

        Mr. Allen said Mr. Ballmann struck up an Internet conversation with the investigator and arranged a meeting at a Holiday Inn in Cincinnati last week.

        At one point, Mr. Allen said, Mr. Ballmann sent nude pictures of himself to the investigator over the Internet.

       



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