Details about the northeast Arkansas high school basketball coach expected to be charged in Pike County for computer child pornography have come to light after the release of his affidavit of arrest this week.
Brandon Ballard, 31, of Lake City 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 made a first appearance Monday, Dec. 17 in Pike County Circuit Court on what Judge Tom Cooper described as a “potential offense” of computer child pornography.
No charge has officially been filed but Pike County prosecutors released the affidavit that is expected to be filed sometime after Jan. 1.
Ballard is a 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.
According to the affidavit, on Dec. 6, Kirby High School Principal Jason Burns and basketball coach Marty Smith contacted Kirby’s School Resource Office Chance Reid about a 15-year-old male student who had allegedly received inappropriate messages from Ballard, who coached at a Kirby basketball camp in July.
The student told the officer he and Ballard had been sending messages back and forth since the camp. The teen described the messages as “normal” until the end of October when Ballard allegedly sent a picture of a penis and asked the teen to send him a similar picture.
The teen said Ballard stated he would give him $1,000 and a new pair of basketball shoes in exchange for the picture. The teen said he kept the communications private until he informed a teacher who then contacted the Kirby school officials.
The teen also told authorities he did not save any of the messages from Ballard and was informed to save any future correspondence with the coach, who reportedly later sent another penis picture and continued to contact the teen with messages and videos and instructions of “no saving and no telling bro.” The messages were reportedly recorded and photographed by another cell phone to keep Ballard from being able to see that the messages were being “screen shot,” according to the affidavit.
Ballard had also previously requested the teen’s address and invited him to come stay with him in Lake City.
The Buffalo Island school released a statement the week of Ballard’s arrest stating 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.
Ballard is set to return to Pike County Circuit Court Feb. 4. He is being represented by attorney Jarrett Cobb of Harrisburg.