Former pastor of Grace House shelter opens up about past arrest and charges

Josh Ball speaks for first time

BEDFORD, Va. – For the first time, a Bedford Pastor is speaking out after he was arrested earlier this year.

Joshua Ball faced felony charges related to a homeless shelter he was operating but the charges were dropped Friday by a judge in Bedford's General District Court.
Now, Ball wants to publicly clear his name. He contacted Irisha Jones of WSLS, who's been following this story since February, and asked for an interview. 

The Grace House shelter is empty and dark. And it's been that way since February.
Ball made his first visit back there on Monday.

"It's a little overwhelming. I pulled in the parking lot and I could just envision back to a few months ago when there were people all down the sidewalks. People's lives were being changed here," Ball said.

February was the month everything changed for Ball.
"They tried to make us look really bad, like I was a pastor that beat people up and wrote bad checks," Ball said.

Ball said those claims are 100 percent false.

"There was nothing that was ever looked into, no investigation done. My attorney said the charges never should've never been filed," Ball said.

Bedford police at the time said Ball was arrested after an acquaintance accused him of assault. Ball explained that situation.                 
"We had a young man stay with us who has a mental disability going on and we opened my house up to him to let him stay with us for a few weeks to find him proper shelter somewhere else. As far as the charge of assault and battery, that never happened,"

He was also charged with writing a bad check to pay for electric service at the shelter. 

"I had $400 in my hand when I went to pay whatever needs to be paid, and they refuse payment. I put the money on the counter and they still refused payment.

After a court appearance Friday afternoon, Ball said, and court documents prove, the judge decided not to prosecute on the assault charge, and the bad check charges were dismissed.

"Warrants are not obtained without probable cause. But then of course when he goes to court that's the judge's courtroom and what happened in the courtroom is what happens. Either way, there is no ill will towards anybody," Lt. Shannon Walker, of the Bedford Police Department said.

Ball said since his arrest, the shelter has lost support, which forced its closure.

"The day we had to close we had 25 in all staying with us. Then we had to have somewhere else for them to go because we could no longer keep our doors open. It's affecting us in ministry," he said. 

Ball is in the process of starting a new church ministry called Recovery Church. He is also planning to continue helping the homeless in the town of Bedford.