A jury convicted Keone Jason Lee following a month-long trial.
The department said in a release that Lee invited a homeless family to stay in the camper trailer he lived in, which was parked in his parents' driveway. Lee "opportunistically" abused two children of that family, ages 6 and 11, according to the release.
Lee threatened the girls with a sword in an attempt to keep them quiet, police said at that time.
Lee was also found guilty of two counts of possession of child pornography on Thursday. In the course of an investigation Anchorage Police Department detectives searched Lee's camper and discovered Lee had child pornography downloaded onto two of his personal computers, prosecutors said.
He has been previously convicted of child porn possession while serving in the military, and as a result faces a prison sentence of 30 to 40 years on each count of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor, prosecutors said.
Sentencing is set for Jan. 9, 2017.
Two years later, Ballone is accused of sexual battery on children as young as 2. Ballone, who faces 132 charges, used young children to manufacturer pornographic images, Polk Sheriff Grady Judd said Wednesday.
The previous complaint involved indecent behavior with a boy about 2 years old, according to one of Ballone's neighbors in the Alturas area.
Sabrina Wiggins, who lives a few doors down from Ballone's home at 323 Elm St., said one of her friends allowed Ballone to babysit her son until she became suspicious the man was abusing the boy.
Aaaaarg! Don't let men babysit children! Please!
Dramatic change in boy's behaviour
Wiggins said her friend called the Sheriff's Office, which investigated the claims but informed her there wasn't sufficient evidence to make an arrest. The boy was too young to talk at that point, Wiggins said.
Wiggins said her friend's suspicious were based on a dramatic change in the boy's behavior.
Polk Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Donna Wood confirmed Friday that the agency investigated a complaint against Ballone in 2014.
“At the time, no physical evidence nor any other evidence actually confirmed that a crime had occurred,” Wood said. “Had we been able to (arrest him) then, he would have been in jail then.”
Florida law prohibits law enforcement agencies from identifying children who are suspected victims of sexual abuse. So it's impossible to confirm that the 2014 inquiry involved the boy Wiggins mentioned.
The boy's mother declined to comment.
Wiggins said her friend ceased allowing Ballone to babysit the boy as soon as she became suspicious. Wiggins said she now babysits the boy regularly.
The Polk Sheriff's Office arrested Ballone in July on possession of child pornography charges. An examination of Ballone's electronic devices found images that appeared to have been created in his home, leading to an investigation and the filing last week of the additional charges. He is being held without bond.
Judd said Wednesday his office has no evidence to charge Ballone's wife, Kimberly Ballone, with any crime.
Wiggins said she and her husband and teenage daughter have lived on Elm Street for two years but now plan to move.
“I'm packing; we're getting out of here,” Wiggins said, citing drug problems in the neighborhood and Ballone's arrest. “This is the straw that broke the camel's back. I have nieces and nephews that come over and they're itty-bitty. I'm done.”
Wiggins said she didn't know Ballone but often saw him riding his bike in the street with children. Wiggins said she only saw Kimberly Ballone when she drove past.
'Mom, he's a creep,'
“My daughter is 17, and when we see him she's always like, 'Mom, he's a creep,' ” Wiggins said. “She never wanted anything to do with him.”
The girl is gifted with discernment; I totally agree with her.
Asked what it was that bothered her daughter, Wiggins said, “Just the look of him.”
Two women who lived next door to Ballone said they never had any contact with him.
Michelle Cisneros, 24, said she often heard the sounds of playing children coming from Ballone's property as she sat in her backyard.
“There were certain occasions when we heard little kids playing and then all of a sudden they would scream at the top of their lungs,” Cisneros said. “We didn't think anything of it. But then we heard the news about what happened and we were actually in shock.”
Her friend, Nora Nelson, said she just assumed a large group of children lived at Ballone's house. “There were always kids running around there that you could hear,” said Nelson, 22.
Cisneros said there are no young children in her home. Cisneros, who has lived on Elm Street for three years, said Ballone's backyard has always been covered with high grass and weeds that limited view from the outside.
“My mom said now she knows why he never took care of the yard,” Cisneros said. “We never could see anything on the other side of the yard.”
Samantha Angeles lives in a house on Alturas Road with a backyard that abuts Ballone's backyard. Trees and tall shrubs form a screen that blocks view into Ballone's yard.
Angeles, 25, said she had never met Ballone in her five years as his neighbor.
“We actually have heard little kids playing there, and we thought it was a family with kids,” Angeles said. “They had a pool. Now that we know this, we're like, 'Whoa, where did those kids come from?'”
Ballone lived in a double-wide mobile home on a dead-end street running parallel to Alturas Road. No one answered a knock at the door Friday morning, though a silver van was parked near the front door.
Several pieces of children's play gear were piled in the front yard near the curb, including a plastic toy car with purple tires. A red station wagon parked in the front yard had a license plate on its front that read: “World's Greatest Grandpa.”