Tim Ballard faces four new criminal sexual assault complaints in California, attorney says

Lawyer for Operation Underground Railroad founder says the latest moves are part of “an ever-changing shakedown” of her client.

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Celeste Borys and husband Michael Borys appear at a news conference in November 2023 accusing Tim Ballard of sexual misconduct.

Celeste Borys, one of the women suing Tim Ballard, flew to California with her lawyer last week to file criminal complaints alleging the founder of Operation Underground Railroad sexually assaulted her in four jurisdictions, according to her attorney.

Borys, who was Ballard’s executive assistant from March 2023 until last fall, previously filed a criminal complaint with the Lindon Police Department in Utah County.

She now has also reported assaults to police departments in San Diego, San Clemente, the San Jose suburb of Campbell, and to Los Angeles Airport police, Borys’ attorney Suzette Rasmussen told The Salt Lake Tribune.

The Tribune could not independently confirm the complaints with respective police departments Friday or Saturday. Rasmussen provided images of four documents from the four agencies, including case numbers and names of detectives. One, an investigative report, included details of an assault alleged to have occurred at the L.A. airport during an April trip.

Borys, who previously went public with allegations against Ballard, is expected to appear at a news conference Monday morning to address the latest complaints.

“My client … has shown tremendous courage in coming forward about the sexual assaults against her by Tim Ballard,” said Rasmussen, who accompanied Borys to the police departments Wednesday and Thursday. “My client’s decision to report the assaults in additional jurisdictions speaks to the widespread nature of the traumatic events she and other women have experienced due to Tim Ballard’s sexual deviancy. It emphasizes the critical need for a comprehensive and coordinated effort across jurisdictions to address these heinous acts.”

Ballard’s attorney responds

Whitney Bernstein, a lawyer representing Ballard, said Saturday that Borys is motivated by money.

“This is an ever-changing shakedown by someone who said she was in love with Tim,” Bernstein said in a statement, “and voluntarily chose to travel and work with him in multiple jobs long after the events she alleges occurred.”

OUR filed a counterclaim against Borys last month, accusing her of violating terms of nondisclosure and nondisparagement agreements she had signed. The organization said Borys had defended Ballard against another woman accusing him of misconduct — calling that woman “crazy” and the investigation “fake news” — and remained close to her former boss until roughly a week before filing her suit.

“This carefully orchestrated media campaign has purposefully left out a number of important facts that will tell a much different story, including a strong financial motivation for making these false claims,” Bernstein said. “Tim Ballard has dedicated his life to protecting others, and his behavior toward his former friend and colleague has been consistent with that commitment.”

Ballard under multiple investigations

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. left, and Tim Ballard are shown in 2016.

Ballard already is the subject of at least two investigations, one by the Utah attorney general’s office — announced by his longtime friend and supporter, Attorney General Sean Reyes, in December — and one by Lindon police.

Rasmussen, Borys’ attorney, said Ballard assaulted her client in San Diego when the two traveled there to gather intelligence on a suspected North Korean trafficking ring and to get a copy of the movie “Sound of Freedom” — which is loosely based on Ballard’s story — for screening before its release.

Borys was was also assaulted, Rasmussen said, when they traveled to San Clemente for a board meeting of Operation Underground Railroad, the anti-trafficking group Ballard started; to Los Angeles, where Ballard was supposedly gathering information about massage parlors and spoke at an OUR fundraiser; to San Jose, for a “Sound of Freedom” screening at the home of a prominent OUR supporter.

In October, Borys and her husband, Michael Borys, filed a civil lawsuit against Ballard and OUR, alleging Ballard had violently sexually assaulted her on multiple occasions, that the organization did nothing to stop it, and that Ballard and OUR inflicted emotional distress on the couple.

Six additional women have also filed a pair of civil lawsuits accusing Ballard of sexual misconduct or assault and alleging OUR was complicit or negligent in the actions.

For his part, Ballard has fired back at Borys in court filings. His attorneys allege that she accessed Ballard’s email account and stole confidential information that she provided to lawyers suing Ballard. Attorneys for the Ballard want the records stricken from the litigation.