Officer Phillip Bal - April 2004 home invasion and CSC charges
Officer Phillip Bal - April 2005 CSC charges
Officer Phillip Bal - April 2006 CSC charges
Officer Phillip Bal - Sentenced, July 18, 2007
A Wisconsin woman who attended Bal's sentencing hearing, claimed to also have been victimized by Bal in 1995. The number of women who were sexually assaulted by Officer Phillip Bal may never been known.
Bal blames media, says victim is lying
The Daily News
By PETE FRECCHIO, Staff Writer
Thursday, July 19, 2007
IRON MOUNTAIN — In Dickinson County Circuit Court on Wednesday, convicted sex offender Phillip Bal told Judge Richard Celello he was sentencing "an innocent man.”
Celello, saying he had thought long and hard about his decision, sentenced Bal, 34, of Iron Mountain, to 11 to 20 years in prison.At a jury trial in May, Bal, a former Iron Mountain police officer, was found guilty of criminal sexual conduct-first degree and home invasion-first degree.
The charges were related to an assault on an Iron Mountain woman at her home in April 2004.Celello sentenced Bal to 11 to 20 years on each count. The two sentences will run concurrently. Bal was given credit for 55 days served and ordered to register as a sex offender.
"This is one of the most difficult cases I have ever presided over," Celello told Bal. "(The defense) questioned the decision making methods of the jury. I can’t second guess the jury. I am not punishing you because you are a former police officer," Celello told Bal.
Bal told the court that since he was off-duty when the incident occurred, he should not be held to a higher standard because he was a police officer.
"Bal being a police officer should definitely be considered in determining his sentence," said special prosecuting attorney Jennifer Mazzuchi of Marquette. "When a gang member is involved in a crime, people are not shocked. When a police officer is involved in a crime, people are shocked. It is an abuse of his power."
At his first sentencing hearing on June 27, Bal informed the court he wished to dismiss attorney Frank Stupak of Escanaba and retain the services of appellate attorney Sanford Schulman of Detroit. The change in legal counsel delayed Bal’s sentencing three weeks.
Emotions were running high as supporters of both Bal and the victim filled the benches in the third floor courtroom.
In response to a statement Bal made before the court saying the victim was lying, Judge Celello responded, "The victim is telling the truth. She was brutally assaulted by you. I can’t think of anything short of murder that is as bad as what happened here. Alcohol has caused you terrible problems in your life," Celello said.
Several motions brought forward by Schulman concerning a proposed polygraph test, the jury’s method of reaching a guilty verdict and sentencing guidelines in the pre-sentence report were denied by Judge Celello.
In his statement before the court, an emotional Bal said the justice system let him down.
"I stand before you an embarrassed and humiliated man," he said. "My sinful and immoral action is responsible for everything that has happened.
I apologize to my wife for breaking her trust and violating the sanctity of our marriage. Her love has kept me strong. I will spend the rest of my life making it up to her," Bal said.
"I apologize to my (four) kids, my parents, my family and my friends for what has happened the last 15 months and for letting them down," he continued. "I thank everyone for their letters of support. I thank the people of St. Mary and St. Joseph church for welcoming my family there and for the support they will give them when I am gone. I apologize to (the victim) and her family for what I have done. I pray life will return to normal for them."
Bal went on to list a number of injustices he felt had occurred.
"Several stories in the newspaper (about my case) slowly poisoned the selection of my jury and took away any chance I had for a fair trial," he said.
"My family was publicly humiliated. Because I was a police officer, my name and my family’s name was dragged through the mud. I lost my job. The prosecution never asked me for my side of the story," Bal said.
"The court allowed two women who had cases pending against me to testify against me," he said.
"Jurors later said they used that (information) to convict me. I was convicted based on what was said about two cases that never went to trial," he said."
I never asked for special treatment because I was a police officer. I feel I was prosecuted because I was a police officer. I ask the court for mercy and leniency. I have four kids that need a father. I have a wife who needs a husband. God has forgiven me. The victim is lying. You are sentencing an innocent man," Bal said.
Bal will be remanded to the custody to the Michigan Department of Corrections. He will be transported to the Southern Michigan Correctional Facility in Jackson where he will be a part of the general prison population.
Bal’s attorney, Sanford Schulman, said an appeal will be filed.
"(Bal) was convicted on the testimony of two women whose charges against (Bal) were never brought to trial. The jury was hit with three cases at once. The evidence in the (case of the victim) was weak," said Schulman.
A Wisconsin woman who says she was involved in an encounter with Bal in the mid-1990’s attended Wednesday’s sentencing. She approached The Daily News outside the courthouse to offer her thoughts on Bal.
"It’s been 12 years, but justice was finally served," she said. "Bal was lying in court today. I saw firsthand what he is capable of," the woman said. The unnamed woman says she hopes to see the other man that was involved in her encounter with Bal brought to justice. "Eventually, it all catches up with them," she said.
Bal could still face a criminal sexual conduct charge involving an Iron Mountain woman in May 2005 at the C&R Bar in Aurora, Wis.
Florence County District Attorney Douglas Drexler has indicated he will decide shortly how he will proceed.
Bal is facing one count of criminal sexual conduct—second degree, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison.