A deputy for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was arrested last week for allegedly raping a minor last year while he was assigned to the special victims unit.
The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office announced on Tuesday that Deputy Neil Kimball, 45, has been charged on one felony count of rape by force and one felony count of preventing or dissuading a witness from testifying. Prosecutors believe he tied up a 14-year-old girl and raped her sometime between October and December of 2017.
“When allegations of criminal activity involve law enforcement, we have systems in place to root out misconduct within the organization, as well as any Department member who chooses to violate the law and public trust,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a statement.
Kimball appeared in Ventura County Superior Court on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty. He is being held on $2 million bail, and his arraignment has been set for Dec. 18. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department put him on paid leave.
If convicted on both felony charges, Kimball could face a maximum sentence of 19 years in prison, according to the county’s senior deputy district attorney, Patrice Koenig.
She told the Ventura County Star that the District Attorney’s Office will not give Kimball any special treatment because he is a police officer.
“We treat them the same as any other defendant,” Koenig said.
Before moving to the sex crimes unit, Kimball was accused in 2009 of grabbing a woman’s hand and trying to make her touch his genitals while he was on duty. The deputy was investigated for sexual battery, according to the Los Angeles Times, but was not charged with any crime.
Need help? Visit RAINN’s National Sexual Assault Online Hotline or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website.