Brooks Houck’s mother withdraws motion for custody of child shared with Crystal Rogers

Just two days before she was accused by a prosecutor of recording grand jury proceedings, Brooks Houck’s mother withdrew a legal request for custody of her grandson, a child who Houck shared with Crystal Rogers.

Rose Mary Houck, the mother of 41-year-old Brooks Houck who is charged with the murder of his former girlfriend Crystal Rogers, withdrew her motion for custody of the child last week, according to court documents.

Documents in the case weren’t immediately available but WDRB in Louisville previously reported that Houck and Sherry Ballard, Rogers’ mother, were trying to get custody of the child in Nelson County court two days after Houck’s arrest.

Brooks Houck is currently being held on a $10 million bond, which was upheld by Nelson County Circuit Judge Charles Simms III. Brooks Houck pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Prior to Houck’s arrest, he was taking care of the child. Rogers had other children but Houck was not their father, and Ballard took care of them after Rogers disappeared, she told the Herald-Leader previously.

It is unclear why the motion for custody was withdrawn by Rose Mary Houck or who has custody of the child. Her attorney, Jeremy Aldridge, was not immediately available for comment Wednesday morning.

Rose Mary Houck, as well as four other Houck relatives, were accused by special prosecutor Shane Young of recording secret grand jury proceedings earlier this month at Brooks Houck’s arraignment hearing. They have not been charged with anything.

Custody, visitation battle has gone on for years

In February 2021, Ballard was denied visitation rights with her grandson, Rogers’ youngest son of five children. Rogers has been missing since 2015. Ballard’s husband, Tommy Ballard, was shot and killed the following year. That left Sherry Ballard to raise Rogers’ other children alone.

Sherry Ballard (right) sits in the Nelson County Courthouse during Brooks Houck’s arraignment on Oct. 5, 2023.

The child was 2 years old when his mother went missing and had, until then, shared a close relationship with his maternal grandparents, court records state.

After Rogers’ disappearance, the Nelson Circuit Court granted visitation to Sherry Ballard, but those visits stopped after a Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling revoked that right in 2018.

The case made its way back to Nelson Circuit Court, where an order was entered in 2021 that again denied Ballard visitation rights.

In an order filed Feb. 20, Judge Stephen Hayden wrote, “The court finds there is clear and convincing evidence significant hostility exists between the Ballard family and Houck such that it poses a significant risk of emotional harm to (Rogers and Houck’s child) and it is reasonable for Houck to believe denying visits is necessary to protect (Rogers and Houck’s child).”

Hayden said witnesses on both sides of the case acknowledged that “Houck is a loving father and is greatly involved in his son’s life.”

Ballard said her family hadn’t expressed hostility toward Brooks Houck when the child was around them and they’d keep from doing so in the future. In 2021, after having not seen her grandson for years, Ballard held a rally around the issue.

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