Friday, April 21, 2006

Officer Phillip Bal - Iron Mountain PD

Also See:

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 - 1995 CSC allegation

Officer Phillip Bal - Sentenced, July 18, 2007 [April 2004 charges]

Officer Phillip Bal - Charges dismissed [Aurora WI. April 2005 charges]
On April 21, 2006 a woman who knew Officer Phillip Bal, saw him in a bar in Iron Mountain. The woman went up to Bal and thanked him for his handling of her recent domestic incident. She offered to buy Bal a drink. Bal later went up to the woman and attempted to kiss her. The woman rejected Bal's advances. Bal suggested they go home to have some fun and again the woman rejected Bal's advances. Later that night, when the woman was walking to the bathroom, Bal grabbed her and pushed her into a closet where he sexually assaulted her.
The woman immediately reported the assault to the Iron Mountain PD. After criminal charges against Officer Bal were filed, other victims who had been sexually assaulted by Officer Bal began to step forward.
  Officer Bal was convicted in May 2007 and sentenced to 10 - 20 years in prison for an April 2004 sexual assault.

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.

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.

Briefs from the Upper Peninsula
Associated Press
Duluth News Tribune, MN
Jul. 12, 2006

IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (AP) - A city police officer charged with criminal sexual conduct and other charges has been fired.

City Manager John Marquart announced Tuesday that Phillip Bal had lost his job.

Bal, 32, of Iron Mountain, is charged with fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of assault and battery and one county of being drunk and disorderly. He has been with the local police department for six years.

"Officer Phillip Bal vehemently denies the accusations against him," said his attorney, Frank Stupak. "Bal is surprised the city of Iron Mountain would terminate him in advance of proof of the accusations which come from a barroom while Bal was off duty."

A preliminary examination and a pretrial hearing are scheduled for Monday on the charges.

They involve an incident alleged to have taken place at Wally's Bar on April 21.


Iron Mountain Officer Fired
Iron Mountain
July 11, 2006

Iron Mountain city officials have fired police officer Phillip Bal over allegations arising from an off-duty bar fight. He was dismissed Tuesday following an internal investigation that lasted nearly three months.

Bal was arraigned last week on charges of criminal sexual conduct, assault, and drunken and disorderly conduct

City Manager John Marquart said the city had no other option except to terminate Bal.

"We did an investigation and this is what the results showed," he said. "We feel that for the best interest of the city, this is the correct step to follow."

Bal and his attorney Frank Stupak disagree. "Officer Bal is surprised that the presumption of 'innocence until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt' apparently carries no weight with the police administration," Stupak told TV6.

Bal makes another court appearance on Monday for a pre-trial hearing.


Iron Mtn officer arraigned on sex misconduct, assault charges
Jul 3, 2006

IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. An Iron Mountain police officer will appear in court again later this month after being arraigned last week on assault and sexual misconduct charges.

Officer Phillip Bal didn't say a word as a Dickinson County judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. If convicted, the 32-year-old officer could face two years in prison.

The charges stem from events on April 21st at a bar in Iron Mountain. The criminal sexual conduct charge involves a 23-year-old Wisconsin woman. The alleged assaults involved an Iron Mountain man and woman. Bal was off duty at the time.

He has been suspended without pay. His next court appearance comes July 17th.


News in brief from Upper Michigan
7/2/2006, 10:28 p.m. ET
The Saginaw News, MI
The Associated Press

IRON MOUNTAIN, Mich. (AP) — An Iron Mountain police officer was arraigned on two counts of assault and battery and one count each of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and being drunk and disorderly.

Officer Phillip Bal, 32, stood mute to the charges Friday in Dickinson County District Court. Judge Michael J. Kusz entered not guilty pleas on Bal's behalf.

The charges stem from a series of events that occurred April 21 at Off the Wally's Bar in Iron Mountain. The criminal sexual conduct incident involved a 23-year-old Florence, Wis., woman. The alleged assaults involved a 27-year-old Iron Mountain woman and an Iron Mountain man.

Bal was released on bond. A preliminary hearing on the criminal sexual conduct charge, a felony punishable by up to 2 years in prison, was scheduled for July 17.

Bal has been suspended without pay, The Daily News of Iron Mountain reported.


Officer pleads not guilty
Charged after alleged assaults at IM tavern
Iron Mountain Daily News
July 01, 2006

CAPTION: Iron Mountain Police Officer Phillip Bal, left, his attorney, Frank Stupak of Escanaba, center, and Special Prosecutor Joe Sartorelli of Crystal Falls are shown in Dickinson County District Court on Friday morning. Bal entered not guilty pleas to one count of criminal sexual conduct-fourth degree, two counts of assault and battery and one count of disorderly person/drunk. A preliminary examination has been set for Monday, July 17, in district court.

IRON MOUNTAIN — An Iron Mountain police officer entered not guilty pleas Friday to one count of criminal sexual conduct-fourth degree, two counts of assault and battery and one count of disorderly person/drunk.

Officer Phillip Bal, 32, of Iron Mountain sat quietly in Dickinson County District Court as his attorney, Frank Stupak of Escanaba, chose to stand mute on the charges before Judge Michael J. Kusz. Pleas of not guilty were automatically entered on each count.

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

The two assault and battery charges are misdemeanors punishable by up to 93 days in jail. The disorderly person/drunk charge is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 90 days in jail. Bond for Bal was set at 10 percent of $3,000. While out on bond, Bal is not to possess or consume alcohol, not to enter or remain in any establishment where alcohol is sold for use therein, not to engage in any harassing, intimidating, assaultive or threatening behavior and is not to have contact with any of the witnesses.

A preliminary examination on the felony has been set for Monday, July 17, in district court. A pre-trial hearing on the misdemeanor charges will also be held on that date.

The charges stem from a series of events that occurred at Off the Wally’s Bar in Iron Mountain on April 21, 2006. The alleged CSC-fourth degree incident involved a 23-year-old Florence, Wis. woman. The two alleged assault and battery incidents involved a 27-year-old Iron Mountain female and an Iron Mountain man.

“Michigan Attorney General (Mike Cox) took quite a while in deciding who should be appointed as special prosecutor in this case,” said Sartorelli. “It was quite recently that I was chosen as the special prosecutor.”

Sartorelli’s normal responsibilities are as Iron County Prosecuting Attorney.

“I want to get this case to trial as quickly as possible. I also want to reassure the public that this case will be treated as any other case would be treated involving serious crimes such as these,” Sartorelli said. “A police officer is put in a position of public trust and is not above the law. In the end I want the public to feel that justice was done.”

As of Friday morning, Iron Mountain City Manager John Marquart said that Officer Bal was still suspended without pay.


Dickinson County Police Message Board
- Fire Phil Bal
Author Comment The Truth
5/06/06 at 01:08 PM

Recently a complaint of physical abuse was filed against Phil Bal, An IMPD officer. I have no idea whether it is true or not. I was not there nor have I talked to any witnesses. But if true signifies that someone has an alcohol problem coupled with an unstable temper. Just what we need walking around town armed.

What I do know is this; Officer Bal needs to be fired. He has a childish lack of brain control and also is a plain outright liar. He has in the past stated that "they tag-teamed me and gave me a blow job". They "they" he was referring to were two DCSD dispatchers. He told that lie to every badge that would listen to him. When it got back to one of the dispatchers he was of course directly confronted about the maliciously false statements he had made. He stammered and stuttered and apologized and said it was all a joke. That was no joke, it is was a blatant outright lie by an immature individual who should be digging ditches for a living and not dealing with the public.

What would this officer say about someone who had no defenses in the course of an investigation. Would he lie about something?

How about in court? Could this persons testimony be considered valid.

It is extremely plausible that past cases where he testified may contain false testimony and need to be carefully looked at.

Why did these two dispatchers do nothing. Plain and simple, they are afraid for their jobs. Afraid to make waves, for they work in a very vulgar and degrading atmosphere at times.

This is a person that the community DOES NOT need to be protected by but rather it seems the community needs protection FROM this unstable individual.

No comments: