FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC) - A West Ashley doctor is accused of peeping at tenants at one of rental houses on Folly Beach.
James Ball, 64, a pulmonologist, is charged with eavesdropping, peeping, and voyeurism.
According to a court affidavit, on June 1, a man and his son saw Ball under their rental house on E. Arctic Avenue. Court documents state the father saw Ball looking through a hole in the wall that leads to the shower area that his 18-year-old son recently used.
Ball was spotted under the house and ran but was caught by the renters on the beach, the affidavit states. When asked why he was underneath the house, Ball reportedly said, “Oh, I’m the rat guy,” and that he was the owner of the house and checking for rat traps.
The court papers state that Ball did not have permission from the rental management company to be at the property. The renter showed Folly Beach police a wall that would have been the back of the outdoor showers.
Officers found an approximate one inch hole in a wall next to the plumbing for the showers and holes in a burlap shade that allowed someone to look into the shower at waist level, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit states that the property manager found similar hidden areas with holes to view the shower area in a rental property owned by Ball across the street from the other house.
A judge set Ball’s bond at $15,000 Monday morning.
A lawsuit filed on July 7 by an Ohio woman claims she and her family rented the same property on the same date as the incident listed in the affidavit.
It is not clear whether this lawsuit was filed by the same family mentioned in the affidavit.
The lawsuit states the family arrived at the home on the afternoon of June 1 and changed into swimwear and went to the beach. Hours later, when they returned to the home, they attempted to take showers in the main level of the home but found there was no hot water, the suit states. The family said they spotted signs throughout the property directing them to change and shower in the underhouse bathroom and changed and showered there.
Shortly thereafter, the family began searching for a water heater that would allow them to use hot water on the house’s main floor but instead found an unidentified man in an unfinished room adjacent to the underhouse bathrooms where the woman and her family had changed clothing and showered, the suit states.
“The wall construction between the underhouse bathroom and the adjacent room in which the unidentified man was discovered was replete with openings, eyeholes, crevices, slits and chairs permitting plain viewing between the rooms,” the lawsuit states. “The wall construction between the underhouse bathroom and adjacent room also featured a floor to ceiling burlap canvas cloth material in the adjacent room which allowed observation through the openings, eyeholes, crevices, and slits in the wall and also concealment of persons, including the unidentified man, in the adjacent room from persons in the underhouse bathroom,” the suit states.
The lawsuit alleges the man watched the family while they were changing in and out of swimwear and while showering.
The suit also states that the man ran away down Folly Beach when confronted but was physically stopped and that the man was later identified as James Ball.
The suit also names Cynthia Henley Ball, who it lists with James Ball as owners of the property, and property management companies Avocet Properties, Inc., and Wyndham Vacation Rentals, CHI LLC. The suit alleges negligence on the part of all defendants and also negligent misrepresentation against the two property companies.
The suit requests a jury trial and actual, consequential and punitive damages.
Records from the South Carolina State Board of Medical Examiners state Ball was arrested in 2003 on four arrest warrants alleging indecent exposure for allegedly exposing himself repeatedly to three different women at a Charleston County drive-in restaurant and recording the acts on video.
Those charges were dismissed, however, the state medical board suspended Ball’s license and recommended him to go to a treatment facility and take a polygraph every six months. The board also ordered Ball to pay a fine of $10,000 and administrative costs of $533.
The documents state the board found no sexual misconduct between Ball and his patients.
The board reinstated Ball’s license in Februrary 2009.