South Carolina

Doctor in South Carolina gets license suspended for peeping. It’s not the first time

James Austin Ball
James Austin Ball Charleston County

A South Carolina doctor accused of watching vacationers at a rental home through an elaborate series of peep holes has temporarily lost his license, an order from the medical board shows.

The State Board of Medical Examiners temporarily suspended Dr. James Austin Ball’s license on July 29 — but the decision only recently became public, News 2 reported.

“The Board finds that the public interest imperatively requires that respondent’s practice of medicine be immediately temporarily suspended pending a hearing,” the order states.

Ball, a pulmonologist in Charleston, was charged with peeping on July 22, Charleston County court records show. Pulmonologists specialize in the respiratory system.

He posted a $15,000 bond and was released, The State reported.

In a civil suit filed shortly before the criminal charges, a family from Ohio renting a house from Ball on Folly Beach said they caught him lurking in an unfinished room adjacent to the bathroom where they changed and showered.

The wall was “replete with openings, eyeholes, crevices, slits and chairs permitting plain viewing between the rooms,” according to the complaint.

Ball reportedly fled down Folly Beach after he was caught. The family said they chased after him “until he was physically stopped in his path” and the police could be called.

The case is still ongoing, court records show.

But it’s not his first run-in with the law.

Ball was charged with four counts of indecent exposure in 2003, prompting the state medical board to temporarily suspend his license.

Prosecutors ultimately opted not to pursue the charges, court records show — but the board maintained his suspension indefinitely.

In a 2004 order formally instituting the suspension, the board outlined four instances at a Sonic drive-thru in which Ball allegedly exposed his genitals to female employees between the ages of 16 and 20.

Police reportedly caught him when he drove by the location a fifth time but did not stop, pulling over on a nearby street instead.

Responding officers found a mirror and camera in his car when they searched it, according to the medical board’s findings.

Afterwards, Ball reportedly saw a psychiatrist, took a leave of absence from his work, resigned from executive committees at area hospitals and entered into an eight-week intensive treatment program.

“Although respondent’s problematic sexual behavior was not present in the work place, the treatment facility recommended that the respondent have monitoring forms in the work setting to ensure that a sexual harassment free work site is maintained,” the board’s order stated.

Ball was ultimately fined $10,000 and his license was reinstated in full in 2009, according to the board’s orders.

Court records show his next court date in the peeping case is Oct. 28.

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Hayley is a Real Time reporter at The Charlotte Observer covering breaking news and trending stories in the Carolinas. She also created the Observer’s unofficial bird beat (est. 2015) with a summer full of ornithological-related content, including a story about Barred Owls in love.