South Carolina

Doctor put peep holes in showers at beach rental properties in South Carolina, cops say

James Austin Ball
James Austin Ball Charleston County

Beach houses owned by a South Carolina doctor had built-in peep holes in the bathrooms, and police say he was caught watching an 18-year-old man shower, according to multiple reports.

Police in Folly Beach, South Carolina, arrested James Austin Ball, 64, Monday after he was reportedly caught spying on the teenager at a rental property, WCIV reports. Ball posted a $15,000 bond and was released, court records show.

Court records show police charged Ball with peeping Monday. A family who rented one of Ball’s beach houses also sued him earlier this month, saying there was a room adjacent to a shower where they found an unidentified man looking through peep holes built into the wall.

Ball, a Charleston pulmonologist, was caught when he was spotted by an 18-year-old who was showering at a beach house on July 1, WCBD reports. The teen and his father chased Ball down, police said, but Ball said he was under the house to check the rat traps, according to the station.

Police “discovered a one-inch hole in a wall looking into the shower, hidden on a narrow walkway past the water heater,” WCIV reports.

The property management company responsible for the houses and police found other peep holes in the house and at another house Ball owned across the street, according to WCIV.

In the lawsuit filed July 8, a woman said she rented one of Ball’s houses in Folly Beach. She said the house had a sign directing people to shower in a bathroom on the ground floor because there was no hot water in the bathroom on the main floor.

The woman and her family “were shocked to find an unidentified man in located inside The Property in an unfinished room adjacent to the underhouse bathrooms” where they had just showered and changed, according to the lawsuit.

The room had peep holes set up to look into the bathrooms and showers, complete with a chair for someone to sit and watch, the lawsuit said.

The man, identified as Ball, ran down the beach until he was stopped, according to the lawsuit.

It’s not clear if the incident in the lawsuit is different from the one police arrested Ball for.

Charleston County court records show Ball was charged with four counts of indecent exposure in 2003.

Those charges were dismissed, but WCSC reports the warrants accused Ball of “indecent exposure for allegedly exposing himself repeatedly to three different women at a Charleston County drive-in restaurant and recording the acts on video.”

The South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners suspended Ball’s license until 2009 and he had to pay the board a $10,000 fine, according to WCSC.

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.