A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detective with the agency’s Special Victims Bureau was in custody Monday on suspicion of rape and witness tampering.
Neil Kimball, 45, was arrested Friday by members of the sheriff’s department’s Internal Criminal Investigations Bureau, according to department spokeswoman Nicole Nishida.
Kimball was booked on suspicion of rape by force and “preventing or dissuading a witness or victim from testifying,” and he was being held on $2 million bail, Nishida said.
“The investigation and arrest resulted from information provided to the (sheriff’s department) by a member of the public,” Nishida said in a statement.
Although the department did not release specifics of the allegations against Kimball, the Los Angeles Times reported that Kimball allegedly raped a 14-year-old girl involved in a case he was investigating.
The alleged crime occurred in Ventura County, and authorities in that county assisted in the investigation, Nishida said.
Michael Schwartz, Ventura County chief assistant district attorney, told The Times the alleged crime occurred in November 2017. The Times reported that Kimball has investigated dozens of child molestation cases during his time with the sheriff’s Special Victims Unit.
Kimball was relieved of duty with pay, according to the sheriff’s department.
“When investigators became aware of the alleged criminal misconduct, they immediately initiated an internal investigation,” Nishida said. “The alleged conduct occurred during the scope of the employee’s assignment with the Special Victims Bureau.”
Kimball has not yet been charged, since the investigation has not yet been presented to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, Ventura County Deputy District Attorney Patrice Koenig told City News Service.
Koenig said Kimball could be transferred to Ventura County Tuesday or Wednesday, but it was unclear when he would be moved.
Kimball was the subject of an earlier, apparently unrelated sexual battery complaint presented in 2011 to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, which declined to prosecute him. The charge evaluation worksheet cited insufficient evidence as well as inconsistent statements and a lack of cooperation by the woman making the complaint.
The woman, identified only as Barbara, said that on Aug. 24, 2008, Kimball and a fellow deputy stopped her and six of her friends, four of them men, in a parking lot at a Travel Inn Hotel.
When the three women asked to use the restroom, Kimball allegedly escorted them to a motel room and then flirted from the doorway as two of the women got into a Jacuzzi tub in the room. Then, the woman alleged, Kimball went into the bathroom, and when she went in to see what was taking him so long, he forced her to touch his penis and groped her before she broke away.
She filed her complaint six months later, telling investigators she hesitated because she was worried that she’d be harassed.
One of the other women in the room said Kimball was flirtatious but she didn’t see anyone go into the restroom with him, prosecutors concluded in the evaluation worksheet.
A woman working the front desk said she had a view of the room and said she didn’t think Kimball ever went into the bathroom.
Kimball’s partner told investigators he was busy talking to the men in the group and didn’t see anything unusual about Kimball’s behavior after the stop.