A northeast Arkansas high school basketball coach made a first appearance Monday in Pike County Circuit Court on what Judge Tom Cooper described as a “potential offense” of computer child pornography.
No charges have been filed against Brandon F. Ballard, 31, of Lake City who was arrested in Jonesboro Dec. 10 and transported to the Pike County Jail. He was released on Dec. 11 after posting a $15,000 bond.
Ballard is the high school basketball coach and a teacher at Buffalo Island Central School District in Monette and once earned the title of “Mr. Basketball of Arkansas,” a title reserved for the state’s best high school basketball players.
Prosecuting Attorney Bryan Chesshir stated in court Monday that his office is still investigating the case and “running search warrants” and he along with Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jana Bradford requested the case be given a hearing date of Feb. 4. Ballard and his attorney Jarrett Cobb of Harrisburg, who spent less than five minutes in front of Judge Cooper, agree to timeframe.
When questioned by The Nashville News-Leader following the court appearance about how the case ended up in Pike County since the potential defendant lives in the northeast portion of the state, PA Chesshir said Ballard was apparently involved in a basketball camp held over the summer in Kirby. It was during the camp that Ballard allegedly became acquainted with a male subject of an unknown age and with an unknown connection to the camp.
The Buffalo Island school announced last week that Ballard has been placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation and will not be allowed on campus or around students during this time.
“The Buffalo Island School District is taking this matter seriously and will investigate it to determine if any additional action is necessary,” according to a release from the district.