Man seeks to transfer facilitation of prostitution charge to district court

Jeff Ball, 52, Des Lacs, has asked to have his Class B misdemeanor facilitation of prostitution charge heard in district court in Ward County instead of in Berthold Municipal Court, said Erich Grant, the prosecutor for the city of Berthold.

A court date that had been scheduled for Ball on March 16 in city court in Berthold was canceled. No court date has yet been scheduled in North Central District Court in Minot.

Ball is accused of driving Xin Gao, 55, who was charged with Class B misdemeanor prostitution in Berthold Municipal Court, to an appointment to meet a client at the Carpio City Hall on Feb. 4, according to a police affidavit. He is alleged to have agreed to drive her to appointments in exchange for her sexual favors. The “client” she was meeting on that occasion was actually a police officer with the Berthold/Carpio Police Department who was taking part in a sting dubbed Operation Lonely Hearts by the police department, according to the affidavit.

Ball is a longtime vocational agriculture teacher and FFA advisor at Minot High School. There is no indication that any of his students or any other minors were ever endangered, but Ball was placed on administrative leave by the school district after the incident, according to Minot Public Schools Supt. Mark Vollmer. Ball had earlier told the school board he plans to retire at the end of this school year.


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