A West Jordan police officer has been charged with raping a woman last month.
Bruce Eric Ballenger, 31, who has worked as a police officer for the West Jordan Police Department for about two years, has been charged with two counts of rape, first-degree felonies, and two counts of forcible sexual abuse, second-degree felonies. A $100,000 warrant has been issued for his arrest.If convicted, Ballenger could be sentenced to spend life in prison.
Ballenger was placed on paid administrative leave after the allegations came to the department's attention March 17, said West Jordan Police Chief Ken McGuire. The incident was investigated by the Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office, and an internal administrative investigation is pending.
Ballenger will remain on paid administrative leave until the administrative investigation, which will determine whether he violated departmental rules rather than state law, is completed, McGuire said.
According to charges filed in 3rd District Court, on March 14 Ballenger and the woman, 38, were at her apartment, 3375 W. 7800 South, sitting on a couch watching a video when he grabbed her and pulled her down to a prone position.
According to the charges, Ballenger pulled off the woman's clothing and fondled her, despite her repeated protests that "she did not want to do that."
Ballenger then raped the woman as she "continued to struggle" and repeatedly said, "I can't do this," the charges state.
He remained on top of the woman, "pinning her against the cushions of the back of the couch." The woman was unable to get up and eventually both fell asleep.
When they awoke, Ballenger allegedly raped her again.
McGuire described the relationship between Ballenger and the woman as an "off-duty relationship" saying the alleged incident took place when Ballenger was off-duty.
"We're in the process of doing an internal investigation ourselves, and the outcome of that will probably be in the next two to three weeks," McGuire said.
"We feel terrible about the tragedy, but he's not convicted yet," McGuire said. "The obvious is that it isn't very fun for anyone. . . . No organization likes to go through this."
McGuire described Ballenger as a "good officer" but would not comment further. As to whether Ballenger will remain employed if departmental rules were violated. McGuire said, "No comment until we look at the evidence," then added, "I think some of that is pretty obvious."
Ballenger, who has hired an attorney, will likely surrender himself at his arraignment, said Assistant District Attorney Bud Ellett.
"He'll go to jail for booking purposes and determination of release at the time that he goes in," Ellett said.
Neither Ballenger nor his attorney could be reached for comment Monday Morning.