McDonnell Living With Priest Who Pleaded Guilty To Sex Crime

AP

Virginia ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) revealed during testimony last week that he moved out of his family home and in with his parish priest the week before his federal corruption trial began.

McDonnell explained on the stand that living separately from his wife Maureen would make it easier for him to prepare for trial each day and described their marriage as “on hold.” The priest he is staying with or the time being, Rev. Wayne Ball of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in Richmond, Va., is a family friend who officiated his daughter Cailin’s wedding.

Ball also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor sex charge in late 2002.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported at the time that Ball, then pastor of Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Norfolk, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of frequenting a bawdy place. Other media reports defined that as a place used for “lewdness, assignation or prostitution.” Norfolk police had arrested Ball and another Richmond man the night before Thanksgiving when they were found together in a parked car in a local park.

The charge was dismissed in 2003 after Ball fulfilled the terms of his plea agreement.

McDonnell railed against sex outside of marriage in his now-infamous master’s thesis, making his friendship with Ball and his decision to move into the rectory at St. Patrick’s during the trial all the more interesting. In the paper, written for Regents University in 1989, McDonnell deplored “the perverted notion of liberty that each individual should be able to live out his sexual life in any way he chooses without interference from the state,” going on to blast gays and unwed mothers.

As a Virginia state delegate, McDonnell had also been part of a Republican-led state crime commission that recommended criminalizing “sodomy that occurs in a public place” in 2005.

Ball blogged about the McDonnell trial for the first time on Thursday. He weighed in on the McDonnells’ defense strategy, which he said the media has characterized as the former governor “throwing his wife under the bus.”

“When you charge a married couple, especially a couple with a long marriage, and either of them dares to testify it would be impossible for them to tell ‘the whole truth’ and not talk about the marriage … Is there any person at all who would want to stand up in public and tell the whole truth about their life?” he wrote.

“Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone,” he concluded, quoting gospel.

h/t Blue Virginia

Pictured: ex-Gov. Bob McDonnell talks with reporters outside the federal courthouse in Richmond, Va., on Aug. 20 with Rev. Wayne Ball to his left.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Catherine Thompson is a senior editor for Talking Points Memo in New York City. She came to the site in 2013 and reported on national affairs. Previously, she worked as a research assistant to investigative reporter Wayne Barrett. She can be reached at catherine@talkingpointsmemo.com.
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