By Mary K. Miraglia
A former Ramsey police officer could spend the next 12 years behind bars after being sentenced to seven today for impairing the morals of a 6-year-old girl.
Jeffrey Kimmel tried addressing Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Roma, but he broke down before the words could come out.
“These cases are most difficult not just for me but for the court. It’s heart-wrenching,” the judge said. “I can’t imagine what this cute, adorable child went through. She answered the questions best she could, and 12 people believed her.”
Jurors in Hackensack acquitted Kimmel, 49, in April of molesting the girl during the Halloween weekend in 2010. However, they convicted him of child endangerment.
At the time he was arrested, Kimmel was in an intensive supervision plan that allowed him to serve only seven months of a six-year sentence for stealing more than $133,000 from his former department and union.
As a result of the April 2012 arrest, the 14-year police veteran was violated from the program and began serving out the full term for the theft at the Adult Diagnostic Correctional Facility in Avenel last year.
Roma ordered that Kimmel cannot begin serving the seven years he gave him today until he completes the other sentence. He will then remain on lifetime parole and must register as a Megan’s Law offender, the judge ruled.
Defense attorney Craig Swenson told Roma that Kimmel, of Oakland, still maintains his innocence. However, he noted that his client has fulfilled all the requirements while being evaluated and housed at Avenel.
Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Demetra Maurice provided a different picture for Roma: “He’s not impaired. He’s intelligent and speaks well,” she said. “However, he’s psychologically disturbed.”
During an evaluation at Avenuel, “he endorsed statements relating to child molesting and rape,” Maurice added.
Kimmel’s sentencing was delayed after he sought a new trial in an attempt to be exonerated of all of the charges.
But Roma two months ago rejected Swenson’s argument that Kimmel couldn’t possibly be found guilty of the crime of child endangerment when jurors cleared him of sexually assaulting the girl.