News

Actions

Lakeland man charged with sexually abusing two toddler boys, previously charged in child porn bust

Ballone now faces 197 felony charges
Posted at 7:00 AM, Sep 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-07 17:47:29-04

A Lakeland man has been charged with sexually abusing two toddler boys, according to Polk County deputies. 

James Ballone, 53, was arrested in July 2016 during a undercover child porn investigation, but now investigators say they have discovered some of the kids in the images and videos are local.

He remains in jail and detectives have now filed an additional 132 charges against him.

"This guy has been a sexual predator his entire adult life," said Grady Judd in a press conference Wednesday morning.

Judd said his team of detectives have evidence that Ballone molested at least two two-year-old toddlers. He said Ballone documented it all.

"We believe there are more victims," Judd said. "Our goal is to keep him in prison because this is the only way you can keep him from children."

Nancy Samples told ABC Action News her grandkids hung out with Ballone on several occasions. The children have since met with therapists.

"I know that they are OK. They have been checked," she said.

Samples said she suspected nothing, and it appears Ballone's wife had no idea either. 

"She can’t believe that all this happened right under her nose. She’s just blown away by everything," she said.

The allegations get even more disturbing.

Detectives said there are cameras throughout the house and on multiple occasions. They said Ballone secretly recorded he and his wife having sex and then forced young girls to watch the video.

Although Ballone had no young children himself, his house was a practical playground for kids.

He had a trampoline outside, a playhouse, and toys everywhere.

"It was a child magnet. Children wanted to go there to spend time with Papa Jim," Judd said.

Ballone ran a carpet cleaning company. Investigators said he routinely offered to watch his employees' kids and others in the neighborhood.

The sheriff is warning parents.

"We are looking for other victims. Do we know there are other victims? You bet there are," Judd said.

RELATED | Polk County Sheriff's Office arrest 9 on child pornography and other charges

Ballone's addition charges include:

  • 2 counts Capital Sexual Battery (F-C)
  • 6 counts Lewd Molestation (F-L)
  • 5 counts Lewd Exhibition (F-2)
  • 3 counts of Promotion of Sexual Performance (F-2)
  • 115 counts Possession of Child Pornography (F-2)
  • 1 count Unnatural and Lascivious Act (M-2)

He now faces a total of 197 felony charges.

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.

Download our free app for Apple and Android and Kindle devices.

Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox.

Follow us on Twitter

Follow @abcactionnews

Like us on Facebook