William Leon Ballenger, 39, pled guilty in Cullman County Circuit Court Monday to first degree rape and 15 years in prison.

Ballenger was charged with rape first degree, rape second degree, sodomy second degree, sexual abuse first degree and incest.

“We are glad that it turned out the way it did,” Cullman County District Attorney Wilson Blaylock said. “Of course he will have to register, and he does have the right to apply for probation.”

Ballenger had been out on bond but Blaylock said Circuit Court Judge Frank Brunner revoked bond and Ballenger is being held at the Cullman County Detention Center.

“The judge will get a probation report from the probation officer and will set a hearing in four to six weeks,” Blaylock said. “At that time the defendant can come forward and state why he deserves to be given probation.”

Martha Williams was the chief prosecutor in the case.

Blaylock said he could not release the name of the victim in the case because the victim is still a minor.

“ We just feel for the victim and the family, but I think Martha (Williams) did an excellent job prosecuting,” he said. “I think though you can’t make all the wrongs right this has helped the healing process.”

First degree rape is a Class A felony and is punishable by no less than 10 years and not more than life.

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