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L.A. County sheriff’s sex crimes detective admits assaulting girl in case he investigated

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Neil Kimball was arrested in November. He is expected to be sentenced to three years in prison as part of a plea agreement and must register as a sex offender.
(Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

A Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigator assigned to handle sensitive sexual abuse crimes pleaded guilty this week to sexually assaulting a minor in 2017.

The Ventura County district attorney’s office announced Wednesday that Neil David Kimball, 46, of Agoura pleaded guilty to a lewd act with a child and unlawful sexual intercourse. He is expected to be sentenced to three years in prison as part of a plea agreement and must register as a sex offender.

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.

L.A. County Sheriff’s Department officials said Friday that Kimball’s pay was suspended March 4 and that the agency has obtained court documents to proceed with his immediate termination.

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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 monthlong investigation. He was 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 in October after contacting people involved in the deputy’s cases.

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“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 filed an amended complaint Tuesday with the charges to which he ultimately admitted, the Ventura County Star reported.

Kimball is expected to appear in Ventura County Superior Court on Aug. 8 for sentencing.

Times staff writers Maya Lau and Richard Winton contributed to this report.


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