A Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigator assigned to handle sexual abuse crimes was sentenced to three years in state prison after he admitted to sexually assaulting a minor in 2017.
Neil David Kimball, 46, of Agoura was sentenced to the maximum term of three years in state prison for committing a lewd act on a 15-year-old child and unlawful sexual intercourse, the Ventura County district attorney’s office announced Thursday.
Kimball pleaded guilty to the child molestation charges in July and as part of the plea agreement he must register as a sex offender, prosecutors said. Kimball was also ordered to pay the victim $50,000 for her pain and suffering.
The deputy, who investigated dozens of child molestation cases in L.A. County for the Sheriff’s Department’s sex crimes unit since 2013, met the 15-year-old after she reported being a victim of sexual assault. While Kimball was investigating her case, authorities said, he befriended the girl and assaulted her in Camarillo.
After it was announced that Kimball pleaded guilty on July 10, sheriff’s officials said that Kimball’s pay was suspended and the agency obtained court documents to proceed with his immediate termination.
Kimball met the victim during the “scope of his work,” a department spokeswoman told The Times last year.
The 20-year department veteran was arrested in November after a month-long investigation. He was then relieved of duty with pay after a complaint about him from a member of the public sparked an internal criminal investigation.
Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida told The Times last year that Kimball had been at a medical facility, away from the Special Victims Bureau, in the months before his arrest. A colleague who took over some of his criminal investigations then learned of the accusation against Kimball after contacting people involved in the deputy’s cases.
“We hold all our employees to the highest ethical standard and when that standard is not met there must be consequences,” the Sheriff’s Department declared in a statement, saying it “has fully cooperated with the Ventura County District Attorney Office’s prosecution of Neil Kimball.”
In 2009, a few years before he joined the sex crimes unit, Kimball was investigated for sexual battery but was not charged with a crime. In that case, a woman told the Sheriff’s Department that Kimball, while on duty, had grabbed her hand and tried to make her touch his genitals, according to a memo from the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
When Kimball was initially charged in November with forcible rape of the teen — including a special circumstance allegation that the victim was bound — and dissuading a witness by force or threat, he pleaded not guilty.
The prosecution then filed an amended complaint with the charges to which he ultimately admitted, according to the Ventura County Star.
Times staff writers Maya Lau and Richard Winton contributed to this report.