FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) — The Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled Friday that Crystal Rogers' son can no longer see his grandmother, Sherry Ballard.
The six-year-old boy has spent alternating weekends with Ballard since she and her late husband Tommy filed a petition for grandparent visitation the month Rogers went missing in July 2015. Ballard's husband was later shot and killed in November 2016.
Brooks Houck, the boy's father, is his primary guardian while Rogers' children without Houck live with Ballard. Ballard has been outspoken about her belief that Houck had something to do with Rogers' death, and Houck is the only suspect named in his partner's disappearance.
Despite animosity between Houck and Ballard, and Houck's insistence that visits with Ballard will hurt his relationship with his son, the court ruled that Rogers' son could spend alternating weekends with Ballard because “[t]he potential benefit to [the son] in having contact with a loving grandmother who has been such a significant part of his life and contact with his older siblings, outweighs the potential for detriments of visitation."
Houck, however, appealed the decision, arguing that the visitations will bring hostility into his relationship with his son and that the court did not fairly assess Ballard in their decision.
Houck testified that Ballard harassed him and his girlfriend both online and in person, and has had a negative impact on his relationship with his son.
Houck stated that his son "is extremely accusatory, asking him 'what did you do to my mommy,' and that 'everyone wants to know.”
The three-judge panel agreed with Houck, concluding that there has been a negative impact on Houck's relationship with his son since spending time with Ballard.
"The evidence herein unquestionably establishes that the relationship between the parties is plagued by acrimony and that the hostility between them is unlikely to abate," the panel said in their conclusion.
The court sent the case back to the judge, saying there needs to be another hearing that applies the "appropriate standard" to determine visitation rights.
Ballard told WHAS11 she cannot comment on the decision.