110 W. New York Ave.
DeLand, FL 32720
DeLand 'Internet evangelist' sex offender to be released from prison
By Pat Andrews
posted May 20, 2013 - 12:01:40pm
Charles Balfe, the self-described "Internet evangelist" who's now designated as a sexual predator, is scheduled to be released from prison Wednesday, May 22.
In 2005, DeLand police arrested Balfe and charged him with sexual abuse of a child. In 2006, in a case with offenses dating back to 1997, Balfe was convicted of two counts of sexual activity with a child.
In court, his victim said he quoted the Bible to justify beating her, sexually abusing her, and keeping her under his domination with threats, mental cruelty and extreme discipline.
According to testimony, one Bible story Balfe quoted was that of Lot. The Book Genesis tells about Lot fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah into the mountains with his daughters, and at their instigation, having sex with them and impregnating them. A witness said he used that story to justify having sex with a teenage girl over a period of time longer than five years, starting when she was 12.
Other witnesses testified that Balfe had abused them in a similar fashion.
Balfe, who used a family website to preach via the Internet, was not ordained, nor was he a pastor at any church. He attended a DeLand church.
Circuit Court Judge James Clayton sentenced Balfe to 30 years in prison. In 2008, Clayton had to re-sentence him because different sentencing guidelines had been in effect at the time of Balfe's offense.
Balfe was re-sentenced to 9.5 years in prison, with credit for 551 days of jail time, which made him eligible for release in 2014.
He earned "gain time," a form of time off for good behavior. A convict is eligible for gain time after serving 85 percent of his or her sentence, a Department of Corrections staff member told The Beacon. That made Balfe eligible for release this year.
Balfe, who's now 68 years old, is currently serving his sentence at the South Florida Reception Center in Doral, in South Florida.
Department of Corrections officials said anticipated release dates are approximate and can change, depending on gain time award or forfeiture.
The law requires that the Department of Corrections notify Balfe's victims, the judge, the court, and local law-enforcement agencies of his release.
When Balfe is out of jail, he will be required, according to court records, to:
• Report to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office. Balfe will be registered as a sexual predator at the Florida Sexual Offenders and Predators website.(www.offender.fdle.state.fl.us.)
• Report to Probation Services in DeLand within 24 hours of release, and report to an officer by the fifth day of each month for the next year. After that year, it will be be determined whether Balfe must remain under supervision for additional time.
• Take a urinalysis or other test his supervising officer may request to determine possible use of alcohol, drugs, or controlled substance.
• Not work or volunteer at schools, child-care centers, parks, playgrounds, zoos or anyplaces where children regularly congregate.
• Not live within 1,000 feet of parks, playgrounds, schools, child-care centers and other places where children regularly gather.
Additionally, Balfe will not be allowed to change his residence or employment, or leave the county, without the consent of his supervising officer.
He will also be forbidden to possess a firearm.
Any trouble with the law — a conviction won't be necessary — could result in a violation that could send him back to jail.
Balfe could actually face stiffer residence requirements than are spelled out in his court records, which require him to live 1,000 feet from children's gathering places.
"That's actually state law," Department of Corrections public-affairs spokeswoman Ann Howard said. She noted Balfe must follow local ordinances, if they are more restrictive, as they are in most localities in West Volusia. DeLand, for example, extends the distance to 2,500 feet.
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