On Tuesday, August 4, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors settled a high ticket lawsuit against Los Angeles County and the LA County Sheriff’s Department for $5.5 million.
The settlement was made on behalf of a young woman identified as Jane Doe, to protect her privacy.
In the civil rights complaint, Jane Doe’s attorneys — a group that includes famed victims’ rights lawyer, Gloria Allred, and other partners in her law firm — describe how a detective in the sex crimes unit of the LA Sheriff’s Department forcibly raped Jane, who was then 15 years old.
The alleged rape occurred after the detective had been assigned to investigate a previous sexual assault that the girl had reportedly endured, but could not bring herself to talk about, until the detective persuaded her to trust him.
Also, there were other alleged on-duty incidents of sexual impropriety by the detective in the years before he met Jane.
Yet, no one in an official capacity appeared view these allegations as worthy of note.
Here’s the story.
The events on which Jane’s lawsuit is based occurred in November of 2017, during the term of former LA County Sheriff Jim McDonnell.
Jane Doe’s part of the story actually began several months earlier when her dad learned that his daughter, who was 14 years old at the time, had been raped.
As is often true with those who have been sexually assaulted, Jane couldn’t stand to tell her father or anyone else the details, only that the rape had occurred, and who had reportedly done it to her.
Jane’s dad, whom we’ll call John Doe, reported the sexual assault to the sheriff’s department. The case was subsequently assigned to Detective Neil David Kimball to investigate.
Jane and her father met Detective Kimball for the first time at a local Starbucks. Kimball wore casual civilian clothing for their meeting, perhaps hoping to make the girl feel more at ease.
Yet, as had been the case with her father, Jane could not bring herself to discuss the details of her rape. She could do little more than to say that it had happened.
Before, Kimball left the meeting, Jane’s dad told the detective that it might help if he took Jane on ride-along “some time in the future.” The father hoped that if his daughter was able to trust the deputy, she might open up enough to explain the details of her attack, which would presumably help with the case.
And so it was that Detective Kimball took Jane on a series of four ride-alongs, each time with her father’s permission.
The strategy seemed to be effective.
During the third of the four ride-alongs, Jane asked Kimball if the person who had raped her (whom the legal complaint refers to as Doe X) had been arrested and was in jail yet.
“No, not yet,” the detective reportedly told the girl. Yet, he was encouraging. “We are working on it.”
After this assurance, Jane told Kimball that she thought she felt safe enough to tell him about the details of her rape. And so she did.
After ride-along three, detective Kimball asked Jane to accompany him on one last ride-along, which took place in November of 2017. Again, Jane’s dad gave her permission to go with Kimball.
In the case of their three previous drives, Kimball had reportedly driven Jane around in public areas. But this time, things were different.
According to the complaint, for ride number four, when the detective arrived in the late afternoon to pick up Jane, although for other ride-alongs he had always dressed in street clothes, this time Kimball wore his Los Angeles County Sheriff’s uniform, which featured his badge and his his gun.
It was the one and only time that Jane had seen Kimball in uniform.
In addition to the change in his way of dressing, Detective Kimball’s actions were also allegedly different. For one thing, Kimball stopped at store to purchase some unnamed items. Then, although Kimball works and lives in Los Angeles County, Kimball drove Jane around in some of the less populated areas of Camarillo finally winding up on a dirt road, at the end of which an RV was parked. Detective Kimball told Jane that this was a place where he liked to go to “chill out from his family.”
When the two entered the RV, Kimball reportedly also brought the brown paper bag holding his recent purchases, which turned out to be bottles of beer.
When inside, Kimball asked Jane if she’d mind if he drank a bit.
“No, as long as you can drive,” an unnerved Jane said.
Next, according to the complaint, Kimball offered her a beer. When she declined, he reportedly opened a second beer anyway, and gave it to the fifteen-year-old.
Then, according to the civil complaint, the uniformed detective thanked her for “drinking” with him. Then the detective allegedly trotted out the worst kind of cliché, and told the teenager he was lonely because his wife worked and his daughter was away at college.
But Jane did not want to drink. So, when Kimball again urged her to drink the beer, according to the complaint, the teenager expressed her discomfort and asked him to take her home, saying that she did not “feel safe.”
Instead, the supposed protector, allegedly assured the girl that he wasn’t going to “hurt,” her and that, “everything will be okay.”
Starting to become freaked, Jane reportedly got up and tried to get her phone in order to call someone for help.
It was at this moment that Kimball allegedly grabbed Jane before she could make the call, and threw her on the RV’s bed. When she struggled, he pulled out his handcuffs, which he attached to her wrists.
Jane reportedly screamed and pleaded for him to let her go. Instead, Detective Kimball allegedly proceeded to forcibly have sex with the 15-year-old, while she was restrained by handcuffs, and the weight of his body.
After the rape was over, according to the complaint, the detective pulled his sidearm, handed it to Jane, and told her if she didn’t like what happened she could use the gun to kill herself now, or words to that general effect.
Then, he reportedly added that, if she ever said anything to anyone about what had happened in the RV, “I’ll use it to kill you.”
Jane and her father did not report the assault.
Yet, nearly a year later, when Kimball was reportedly on leave from work for unrelated reasons, a new detective took over Kimball’s cases, and began calling those involved, one by one. Jane’s father told the new detective about what had been done to his daughter by a detective she felt she could trust.
Kimball, a 20-year department veteran, was arrested on November 16, 2018, after a month-long investigation.
As it happens, as mentioned earlier, this was not the first time that Detective Kimball had been accused of a sexual improprieties while on duty.
By the time he was charged with raping Jane Doe, it was allegation number three.
In a February 2009, four years before he was promoted to the sex crimes unit, a woman said he had grabbed her hand and attempted to make her touch his genitals, and related sexual actions. This allegedly occurred when the woman had asked to use the bathroom, after Kimball and his partner had stopped her and several friends outside a Travel Inn.
Kimball ended up following the woman and her friends inside the hotel and allegedly began making advances, including telling the women they should get into the hotel’s Jacuzzi. The woman said she was able to pull away from the detective’s grasp, and Kimball eventually backed off, and left. According the LA Times’ Maya Lau, LA County prosecutors “found insufficient evidence,” so decided not to pursue the 2009 incident.
Four years later, in 2013, Kimball joined the elite Special Victims Bureau.
A year still later, there was another case of allegedly inappropriate sexual behavior that was, in some ways, more discomforting. This second set of actions involved a Los Angeles fashion designer, Sara Abusheikh, who told The Daily Beast that she tried to warn the LA County Sheriff’s Department about Detective Kimball in 2014, a year after his promotion, and three years before he allegedly raped Jane.
According to Abusheikh, Kimball was assigned to investigate her own alleged rape case, but in the course of meeting with her, Kimbell repeatedly made inappropriate and suggestive remarks. He made flirtatious comments, accusing her of liking her alleged assailant, and even encouraging her to go back to see him so they could have sex more “gently.”
Abusheikh reminded Kimball that her alleged rapist had allegedly hit her across the face so hard her cheek swelled.
“But what if he’d slapped you somewhere else?” Kimball reportedly replied. And there were reportedly other remarks and discomforting texts of that general nature from Kimball.
(To support her account, Abusheikh saved some of the texts Kimball sent her, which she supplied to The Daily Beast).
When, after months of therapy, Abusheikh decided she needed to report Kimball’s behavior to the sheriff’s department and to the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, both agencies dismissed her.
“It was like trying to complain to a brick wall,” she told the Daily Beast in 2018, expressing fury that this same man had been accused of raping a teenager four years later.
“It just makes you think,” she said, ‘How many other women are there that tried to complain about this guy?’”
Just before Kimball was sentenced in early July of 2019, and Jane Doe’s case was again in the news, Abusheikh revisited her experiences in a personal essay for Medium, entitled “Surviving the Los Angeles’ Special Victims Bureau,” in which she again told of her discomforting encounters with the detective after her rape, and how neither the sheriff’s department nor the DA’s office, which Abusheikh said did little more than pronounce Kimball “a fine detective.”
Damage and sentencing
When he was initially arrested, Detective Kimball was charged with raping 15-year-old Jane Doe while she was tied or bound. Detective Kimball was also accused of “witness intimidation by threat of force.”
The detective could have faced 19-years-to-life in prison if convicted of these serious charges, Ventura County Chief Assistant Dist. Atty. Michael Schwartz told Maya Lau of the Los Angeles Times after the arrest.
(Although Kimball was a member of the LA County Sheriff’s department, and lived in Agoura Hills, the crimes occurred in Camarillo, thus the criminal case was prosecuted by the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.)
But by early July 2019, Kimball and his attorney managed to get the get the charges dialed back to two far less serious allegations: committing a lewd act with a child and unlawful sexual intercourse, both charges, that even when combined, would mandate a far lower sentence. Forceable rape was nowhere in the charges.
And so it was that, on August 8, 2019, former LA County Sheriff’s Detective Kimball was sentenced to three years in prison.
With good behavior, Kimball was to be given credit for half of his three-year sentence, which means he could conceivably be out of prison in early February 2021.
He also was required to register as a sex offender and to pay Jane $50,000, and was ordered to have no contact with her.
Jane didn’t attend the sentencing, but her father did. Yet, both Jane and John Doe wrote victim statements, which attorney Gloria Allred read aloud to the judge and everyone else in the courtroom.
The statement by Jane’s father, John Doe, was staggeringly painful.
“Running away from home for weeks on end,” Jane’s father’s statement began. “Not knowing where she was or with who or how to communicate or why. As if she could outrun her demons.
“Hanging from a freeway overpass trying to jump, to mercifully end it all. The memories, the pain, again the demons…”
And then there was Jane’s statement, which read in part:
“I have been so determined to get better and cope with what happened. I’ve been to numerous inpatient programs at mental facilities as well as a residential treatment facility center for close to a year. I’ve had numerous psychiatrists prescribe me different medicines for the mental suffering I am experiencing. I’ve been diagnosed with severe depression disorder and severe anxiety disorder. I’ve tried so many therapists. Talking about it only seems to make it worse. My heart hurts and I can’t breathe most days…”
One year after the sentencing, following the LA County Board of Supervisors’ approval of the $5.5 million settlement, WitnessLA asked attorney Allred about her high-ticket victory in the civil rights case, and if she thought that the Ventura DA’s Office failed Jane by offering the detective the opportunity to plead to the far lesser charges.
“We are proud of the courage of our client in this case,” Allred told us. “As a result of her courage, we have succeeded in making sure that the LA County Sheriff’s Department has been made accountable for the significant emotional damage that our client suffered as a result of the sexual assault of her by former LA County Deputy Sheriff Neil David Kimball when our client was a minor.”
While Allred didn’t directly address WLA’s second question about the lesser charges, she did kindly email the two victim’s statements that we had requested.
The statements were answer enough.
You’ll find them below in their entirety.
We respectfully recommend that you take the time to read them.
John Doe’s statement
Running away from home for weeks on end. Not knowing where she was or with who or how to communicate or why. As if she could outrun her demons.
Hanging from a freeway overpass trying to jump, to mercifully end it all. The memories, the pain, again the demons.
The violent physical outbursts especially against the ones she loved. Anger, bitterness, resentment.
The cutting, the chronic nausea, nightmares, crying that seemed to never end. Lying in traffic on the freeway, hoping for a swift and final end.
Ending up in a lock down mental facility.
These are only a few of the things your actions have caused her and I, well I was right there with her. A part of her nightmare. A part of her pain. Pain that just won’t seem to go away for her or for me.
Endless excruciating therapy, doctor after doctor. 10 different medications to assist a 15 year old to “cope” with what you did to her.
I was there because I have always been there for her. I have raised her by myself virtually since birth. Always been there to guide her and protect her.
But…. when it counted most, I was not there. Not there to protect her from a chameleon predator who I willingly entrusted my daughter to. A man of authority. A man of respect. A man of honor. A man of the badge.
I trusted you, maybe because of my being a former police officer like you; I felt that there was no question and no doubt you would do what you said, take her on ride alongs, and perhaps further encourage her to think about law enforcement as a possible career.
Now, that career possibility is gone. So are her aspirations to be an Army nurse. Gone. She doesn’t trust people. Especially people in authority or acting under the color of authority. And I don’t know how to change that, because now sadly, I find myself feeling the same.
Her education has suffered. She cannot concentrate. Cannot focus. She lashes out at teachers because she is fearful of them.
She pretty much lashes out at just about anyone. Fear. Loathing. Absolutely no self-worth. Again I live with it, with her, day in and day out.
And I live with my guilt. Guilt that I failed to protect her from you.
Guilt that I failed to protect her from a justice system that continued to emotionally assault her over and over again as it made exhausting demands on her young fragile mind and in the end…. this is all that was achieved… for justice.
So rest well. You now only have a few short years to reflect on all you have lost and the possibilities that await you as you will begin to resurrect and reconstruct your life.
My daughter will not be so lucky.
And I, well I will continue to live with my guilt for the rest of my life.
Jane Doe’s statement
With writing this I don’t really know where to start. I am miserable and numb. I’ve watched my whole life fall apart. My self-confidence and self-respect as well as my inner peace is deteriorating day by day. I feel empty. Physically empty, like there are no organs nor bones in my body. So many wonderful people are here to help me and guide me down a path of success and happiness but I can’t seem to follow.
I try, I try so hard. I have been so determined to get better and cope with what happened. I’ve been to numerous inpatient programs at mental facilities as well as a residential treatment facility center for close to a year. I’ve had numerous psychiatrists prescribe me different medicines for the mental suffering I am experiencing. I’ve been diagnosed with severe depression disorder and severe anxiety disorder. I’ve tried so many therapists. Talking about it only seems to make it worse. My heart hurts and I can’t breathe most days.
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 a minimal sentence. You have taken a small amount of time away from Kimball’s sanity and peace while his criminal conduct towards me has caused horrific consequences to me, taking every last piece of sanity, comfort, happiness and well-being I had left. I have lost all faith in our father above.
I don’t know if there is a God anymore or heaven and hell. I can’t put how I feel in words. They would all come out as a big frustrated scream.
I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m not looking for sad, sobbing faces. I’m not asking for anything but what is right. The fact that he is going to get out of jail shortly after his sentencing is a complete shock to me. The L.A. Sheriff promoted this police officer to the Crime Sex Unit after they had received numerous complaints against him for sexual harassment. The legal system is sending this proven rapist to jail for a mere few years to just get out and do it again.
My father and mother have stuck by my side through everything and given more than 100%. They have helped me before they helped themselves. When they didn’t have anything they would always give to me.
They have been through so much being my parents because of this situation. I don’t want any other human being to have to feel what I felt, nor any family.
Photo above of Neil David Kimball via Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department