L.A. County sheriff's detective sentenced after pleading guilty to lewd act with child

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department detective Neil Kimball, who pleaded guilty to committing a lewd act with a child in Ventura County in 2017, was sentenced to the maximum term of three years in state prison Thursday.

Detective Kimball, 45, also pleaded guilty to having unlawful sexual intercourse.

Kimball met the 15-year-old victim while working her case for the elite Special Victims Bureau, after she reported being the victim of sexual assault in Los Angeles County two years ago, according to the Ventura County District Attorney's office. Kimball befriended the victim while investigating that case. The sexual misconduct allegedly took place between October through December of 2017.

Attorney Gloria Allred read the impact statement written by the teenage victim in court. "I don't understand why we live in a world where our most-trusted are the ones to turn and deceive you, to leave you hurt and hopeless. I have lost all faith in my county's sheriff's department, as well as the judicial system which is only giving this defendant the minimal sentence," she read.

Kimball was arrested in November 2018 after a lengthy investigation by the LASD's Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau. He pleaded not guilty to charges that he raped the teenager.

Kimball must now register as a sex offender and pay the victim $50,000. He was also ordered to have no contact with the victim.

With good behavior, Kimball was given credit for half of his three-year sentence, which means he could be out of prison in about a year and a half or less.

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell told Eyewitness News that a colleague of Kimball's uncovered the incident while reviewing Kimball's cases when Kimball went out on medical leave.

McDonnell said Kimball's arrest was a blow to the department -- the many hard-working men and women who faithfully uphold the law.

"When somebody in any position of public trust takes advantage of that position to hurt somebody else, it hits us all right in the heart," McDonnell said.

The department was reviewing as many as 300 cases that Kimball handled for the Special Victims Bureau to determine whether anything else he did was improper or criminal.

Kimball was previously accused of sexual battery in a case that the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office declined to prosecute, citing "insufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Deputy Neil Kimball committed the crime."
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