Woman guilty of sex assault on young boy
A 35-year-old woman has pleaded guilty to reduced charges after accusations that she sexually assaulted a young boy when he was between the ages of 7 and 9.
Ranada Jo Tate-Wood-Balletta audibly cried as she entered guilty pleas to a single felony count each of sexual assault on a child and contributing to delinquency Friday before Mesa County District Judge Thomas Deister.
Tate-Wood-Balletta, who is represented by Public Defender Scott Troxell, was originally charged with 15 other counts as well, Deister said. She will likely be sentenced to five years in state prison and an as-yet undetermined amount of probation after her release as part of her plea agreement. Deister will finalize her sentence Feb. 17 after she has time to undergo a psychosexual treatment evaluation and both sides receive a pre-sentencing report with sentencing recommendations.
The boy — interviewed several times by investigators after child welfare workers alerted police — described years of forced mutual touching, oral sex on the boy, and the use of sex aids between both of them while at two Grand Junction addresses, according to earlier reports. The boy and another child also described Tate-Wood-Balletta forcing them to take overtly sexual photos of herself, photos later posted to internet sites and directly sent to other people, according to the report.
Tate-Wood-Balletta’s initial arrest warrant also described the boy telling investigators that the woman repeatedly threatened to beat or kill him if he told anyone.
Tate-Wood-Balletta has had addresses in Montrose and Olathe, as well as Jacksonville, Texas, and Elkhart, Texas, since the time of the alleged crimes. She is currently in custody in the Mesa County Jail.