Thursday, April 1, 2004

Officer Phillip Bal - Iron Mountain PD

Also See:

Officer Phillip Bal - April 2005 CSC charges

Officer Phillip Bal - April 2006 CSC charges

Officer Phillip Bal - 1995 CSC allegation

Officer Phillip Bal - Sentenced, July 18, 2007

In April 2004, Officer Phillip Bal broke into the home of an Iron Mountain woman's home and sexually assaulted her. The woman's young children were home at the time of the assault. The victim did not step forward until another victim of Bal's reported an attack in April 2006.

At a trial in May 2007, Bal was convicted of 1st degree CSC and home invastion with the April 2004 attack. In July 2007, Bal was sentenced to 11 - 20 years in prison.

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.

Bal to serve 11 to 20

Former IM police officer sentenced in sexual assault case
The Daily News
July 18, 2007

IRON MOUNTAIN - Phillip Bal, 34, of Iron Mountain was sentenced this morning by Circuit Court Judge Richard J. Celello to a prison term of 11 to 20 years.

Bal, a former Iron Mountain Police Department officer, was found guilty May 24 by a Dickinson County jury of seven men and five women of criminal sexual conduct-first degree and home invasion-first degree. Bal was charged in connection with an assault on an Iron Mountain woman at her home in April 2004.

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.

Bal will remain in the custody of the Dickinson County Correctional center until he is turned over to the Michigan Department of Corrections.

Still pending is a criminal sexual conduct charge against Bal involving an Iron Mountain woman in May 2005 at the C&R Bar in Aurora, Wis.

Former officer bound to Circuit Court, Iron Mountain Daily News
July 17, 2006
Article from 10-7 Forum

IRON MOUNTAIN — A former Iron Mountain police officer was bound over to Circuit Court to face criminal sexual conduct charges following a preliminary hearing Monday.

After hearing from both the prosecution and the defense, District Court Judge Michael Kusz ruled he was satisfied their was sufficient evidence to send the charge of criminal sexual assault — fourth degree against former Iron Mountain police officer Phillip Bal to Circuit Court. Preliminary examinations do not determine guilt.

A preliminary examination in District Court is an evidentiary hearing for felonies where the prosecutor must present evidence amounting to at least probable cause that a crime occurred and that the defendant may have been involved.

If the prosecutor meets his burden of proof, the case is bound over to Circuit Court for arraignment.

Special Prosecutor Joe Sartorelli of Crystal Falls told The Daily News the criminal sexual conduct-fourth degree charge against Bal is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a $500 fine.

Bal is also facing two misdemeanor charges including assault and battery and being a disorderly person — intoxicated in public.

Only one person was called to the witness stand, the alleged victim, a Florence County woman.

She told the court that on Friday, April 21, around 11 p.m., she saw Phillip Bal at Off the Wally’s Bar on Fifth Street on Iron Mountain’s northside.

The plaintiff said she knew Bal from when she was having domestic violence problems with her ex-husband.

Seeing Bal at the bar, she went up to him and thanked him for all his help during her domestic violence ordeal, and asked if she could buy him a beer.

Bal said he already had a beer, but she could buy him one later.

Later that night, Bal sat next to her and put an empty beer bottle on the bar. She then bought Bal a beer.

“We started to chat,” she said, “and within a few minutes he started telling me how difficult his marriage was, and how tough things were going for him at home. He then leaned over and kissed me. I slapped his hand and said, ‘You’re married.’” She then left the bar to go play some video games. arraignment.

“I was just about to put money into one of the games, when I heard somebody call my name,” she testified.

“I turned around and Bal was in my face. Bal asked me if I wanted to go home and have some fun with him. I said, ‘No.’ I told him, ‘You have a wife and kids at home. You’re a police officer. Don’t do this.’”

Bal asked her where she lived, and she said she was staying with a girlfriend who was with her at the bar.

Bal asked her girlfriend where she lived, but she wouldn’t tell him.

She then went back and sat at the bar. She was talking with one of her friends when she heard someone call her name. She said that when she turned around, Bal grabbed her face and kissed her.

“I said, ‘You can’t do this,’ but he did it again,” she said.

When asked by Prosecutor Sartorelli what she did next, she said she tried to ignore Bal and he went to the end of the bar. Some 15 minutes later, she told her friend she was going to use the restroom. Her friend asked if she wanted her to with her, but she said, “No.”

She testified that she was about to go into the women’s room, when someone grabbed her from behind and pulled her into a storage area. The door slammed and when she turned around it was Bal, she said.

She said Bal grabbed her by the neck with his left hand and threw her against the wall.

“He kept trying to kiss me,” she said. “He pinned my left arm up against the wall and started rubbing the left side of my body including my left breast. He also thrust his pelvis against me repeatedly simulating sex.”

A friend walked in and asked what was going on, the alleged victim testified. Bal told her the two were just talking and slammed the door in her face, she told the court.

She said she felt very helpless and frightened.

“He kept telling me how pretty I was and kept trying to kiss me,” she said. “I finally bit his lip hoping to get him to stop. I told him he was drunk and that I was sober and that I wasn’t going to forget this.”

Sartorelli asked if biting Bal’s lip made him stop.

“For a short time,” she responded.

“Around that same time,” the plaintiff said, “an employee of Off the Wally’s came into the room and that made him stop,” the plaintiff said.

The plaintiff told the court she doesn’t remember how she got out of the room. Bal left the bar shortly thereafter.

On Saturday, April 22, around 3 p.m., the plaintiff received a phone call from Iron Mountain Police Chief Pete Flaminio. Flaminio asked the plaintiff to tell him what had happened at Off the Wally’s. The plaintiff told the chief what had happened.

During cross-examination, the plaintiff relayed many of the same details to defense attorney Frank Stupak of Escanaba.

The plaintiff told Stupak that she and two friends had arrived at Off the Wally’s bar around 9:45 p.m. that evening. She said she had been going there with friends once a week for approximately three months. The plaintiff told Stupak the alleged incident with Bal happened between 11:30 p.m. and midnight.

When asked how many drinks she had consumed prior to the alleged incident with Phillip Bal, the plaintiff said she had consumed two drinks.

Stupak asked the plaintiff what kind of crowd was in the bar that night and how many of them she knew.

“I would say there were approximately 35 people there,” the plaintiff said. “I knew about 15 of them, including the owner and the bartender.”

Stupak asked the plaintiff why she didn’t scream for help?

“The jukebox was so loud,” the plaintiff said, “nobody would have heard me.”

Stupak then asked the plaintiff if she recalled what she was wearing and what Bal was wearing?

“I was wearing jeans and a tank top with a short sleeve wrap. Bal was wearing jeans with a blue polo shirt and a white t-shirt underneath,” the plaintiff replied.

Stupak asked the plaintiff if police ever examined her clothing?

“No they didn’t,” said the plaintiff.

Bal’s Circuit Court arraignment is set for Monday, Aug. 7 at 9 a.m.


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