From George Neumayr on Facebook:
In 2018, Knestout selected Fr. Wayne Ball pastor of St. Augustine parish in the Richmond diocese despite Ball’s 2003 guilty plea in public sex case.
“Leave me out of your article,” Fr Wayne Ball, pastor of St. Augustine parish in Virginia’s Richmond diocese, barked at me. I had called Ball up to inquire as to whether he and the bishop who selected him for that position in 2018 had informed the congregation at St. Augustine about Ball’s criminal past. In 2003, Ball quietly pled guilty to lewd behavior in a public park after police found him cavorting with another man in a parked car.
I asked Ball if Bishop Knestout, who heads up the U.S. bishops’ “protection” committee against sexual abuse, had apprised Ball’s parishioners of his 2003 guilty plea for a public sexual offense. Ball confirmed that the congregation was left in the dark about that matter, but defiantly said that that didn’t matter given that the judge in the case later “dismissed” the guilty plea and “expunged” his record.
A press account after the incident reported that the judge accepted a plea agreement from Ball in which the “charges could be dropped after six months for good behavior.” According to that account, Ball received “counseling” for his deviant behavior, but that parishioners at his then-parish were so appalled by his conduct that they asked the bishop at the time to boot him from the parish. As the account put it:
Many families at Holy Trinity lost confidence in Father Ball after he pleaded guilty in court to ‘frequenting a bawdy place for lewdness’ after police found him with another man in a car at Northside Park last December. Police say the park on Tidewater Drive is frequented by men looking for sex. Because the incident did not involve a child, Bishop Sullivan originally left Ball at Holy Trinity.
The bishop said his decision to accept Father Ball’s request for reassignment was not because of the park incident, but admits it’s in everyone’s best interest for Father Ball to leave.
Knestout Promotes Ball
In the subsequent years, Ball served, amazingly enough, on the diocese’s canon law tribunal. I asked a priest who is a canon lawyer if its kosher for a priest guilty of a public sexual offense to serve in such a capacity. No, that’s wrong, he said, but such service is “up to the bishop.” Bishop Knestout, who served as confidential secretary to the notorious child rapist Theodore McCarrick during a stint in Washington, D.C.(Knestout also lived with McCarrick during that period), clearly didn’t mind. Indeed, Knestout thought so highly of Ball that he made him pastor of St. Augustine parish in 2018, a position in which he remains to this day.
I called his parish last Thursday and was shunted off at first to his “administrative assistant.” The woman refused to give me her name and claimed total ignorance of Ball’s 2003 guilty plea. So far every parish or chancery staffer I have interviewed denies any knowledge of that plea, despite the fact that it has appeared in multiple press accounts. The McCarrick-era culture of playing dumb, in other words, remains firmly in place. I have sought comment from Bishop Knestout, but he of course has not called me back.
A priest commented to me that his colleagues find it very “strange” that the bishops would select Knestout to lead their “protection” committee given his close association with a raping monster like McCarrick. But now that perception is likely to grow more intense in light of Knestout’s promotion and protection of Fr. Wayne Ball. When I asked Ball to give me details on the age of the man in the car with him in 2003 and other related matters, he hung up on me.
I went to Bishop Knestout's rectory at Richmond's Cathedral of the Sacred Heart and asked about his scandal of appointing a public sex offender, Fr. Wayne Ball, to a pastorship without informing parishioners of his guilty plea for the crime in a park with a man in a parked car. pic.twitter.com/WTxLuAwIEB
— George Neumayr (@george_neumayr) December 17, 2022
Presumably, parents with teenage boys at St. Augustine would have appreciated a heads-up from Knestout on Ball’s guilty plea to a public sex offense. Would any sane parents want their teenage sons anywhere near Ball? Knestout’s capacity to overlook McCarrick’s gay degeneracy obviously also extends to priests like Ball. The very fact that Knestout and his colleagues permit public sex offenders to serve as pastors confirms that the laxity of the McCarrick era continues.
As one priest put it to me, homosexuals who find themselves in trouble with the law “get a pass,” in part because so many bishops are lewd homosexuals themselves.
How will Knestout’s colleagues respond to his handling of the Fr. Ball scandal? Will they want him to continue in his post as head of their “child protection” committee? Or will they call for his resignation and look for an uncompromised replacement? Basic common sense would dictate the latter, but the bishops are famously obtuse and reckless and may not care about this “adult” scandal. To the extent that they care about sex misconduct cases, they involve priests who prey upon underage children and involve cases that expose the Church to serious legal liability.
Before Ball hung up on me, he implied that the matter was none of my business and that the scandal constituted a non-story. Sadly, in the eyes of Knestout and so many of his astonishingly lax colleagues, Ball’s characterization of his case very well might correspond to their view. Even after countless demoralizing sex scandals, most of the bishops still don’t care about the moral welfare of the Church.