PDT Staff Writer
Despite pleas from Wade Bales’ wife, his father, and Bales himself, Judge William T. Marshall has ordered him back to prison to serve out the remainder of his sentence because of a probation violation.
In May, Marshall ruled Bales, 25, of 67 Jane Lane, in Stout, violated his parole by having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl. 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.
At Wednesday’s sentencing, Shelly Bales said putting Wade Bales back in prison would be a hardship on his family.
“I don’t mean to be selfish, but the biggest impact will be on me,” Shelly Bales said. “I am a full time nursing student. I drive two hours a day, five days a week to try to receive my education, which is approximately 55 to 60 hours a week dedicated to school.”
She went on — “How am I supposed to continue my nursing career without my husband? One thing I do have to say is that prison has proven to be unproductive to Wade.”
Bales then asked Marshall to consider a recommendation by a psychiatrist that he receive more intense treatment.
“Yes, Wade has done wrong, but I am depending on you, your honor, to reinstate his probation to allow him to get the proper treatment he needs,” Shelly Bales said. “Wade and I love each other and are best friends.”
Mark Bales, pastor of Minford Church of the Nazarene and Wade Bales’ father, told Marshall God would judge the situation.
“I think there has been a misunderstanding, highly, that I have enabled or been behind some of Wade’s actions,” Mark Bales said. “That is very, very unfair. It’s very false. And even people in our own church have made those statements. I would never think about that, and here’s why - first of all, I would never envision my young boys when they were laying in my arms to be in a situation like that - and I don’t think you would either.”
He said he was called by God to pastor the church and would not jeopardize the people in that church - “that are either going to heaven or hell.”
“I want to say this, you might have the final say today, but there will be a day when the truth will come out,” Mark Bales said. “Wade has done wrong, I agree. But I will tell you this - I have been reading the paper, and I have seen print about a quarter-of-an-inch tall when someone dies, such as the poor old firefighter down on (U.S.) 52. And then I have seen Minford Nazarene highlighted, and I don’t appreciate it. God will have the final say. And I’m speaking to every single person in this room. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I will tell you this - Wade will end, he will prove to you through through his battles - through his fears - through him going back for three years, that you won’t even consider changing. But I will tell you this - he will come back stronger. He will be stronger for it because I know that between those ears there is good.”
Wade Bales repeatedly begged Marshall to give him more probation time and more intense sex addiction treatment, at one point disputing Marshall’s assertion that he had sent him to the best treatment program in the state, SEPTA.
“I don’t want to be disrespectful by no means,” Wade Bales said. “But the upbringing that I had, and if no one has been to SEPTA, then no offense - you don’t know what you’re talking about.”
Bales complained he had limited counseling and he told Marshall - “we had a homosexual teaching us about sexual awareness. And it was more aggravating than it was anything.”
Assistant Scioto County Prosecutor Joe Hale went through the series of charges and events that highlighted the case.
Hale said the first case involved a 14-year-old girl, who, like the 16-year-old, was involved in the church his father pastors and he attended.
“We gave him a break by letting him plead to a first degree misdemeanor,” Hale said. “He was put on probation. He was given two 180-day sentences that were hanging over his head. While he was on probation for that offense, we get a new case, and that is the case we’re dealing with for revocation of probation here today. That case involved Mr. Bales taking a picture of his penis and texting it, or to use a modern word, sexting it to a minor that he had also met in his church and that he was making romantic overtures to.”
Bales’ attorney Mike Mearan made reference to his not breaking the law, which drew a response from Marshall, who had repeatedly warned that the case was not about breaking the law, but about violation of his probation.
“This is not about a crime. This is about violation of his probation in which I specifically told him to have no contact with the youth of the area,” Marshall said. “He knew what that meant, and because those other agencies didn’t do anything, and they had no jurisdiction to do anything because that girl was 16 years old. You know that was a misleading statement because they did not have jurisdiction.”
In the end, Marshall revoked Bales’ probation and ordered him to serve the remainder of his sentence, which officials said, after being given credit for time served, will be approximately 1,175 days. The alleged victim, sat quietly next to her parents in the front row of the proceedings, which were held before a packed house.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org