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Former Portsmouth school employee granted lower bail on sex assault charge

Union Leader Correspondent

April 10. 2013 4:13PM


BRENTWOOD – A former Portsmouth school department worker was released on lower bail as he awaits possible indictment for attempting to sexually assault a 14-year-old after spending days allegedly soliciting her on Facebook.


Kenneth Kimber, 34, was freed from the Rockingham County jail in Brentwood on $30,000 personal recognizance bail. Kimber had already posted $10,000 cash required by the court on related charges, allowing for his release.


Judge Kenneth McHugh heard bail arguments in chambers Wednesday morning and came to a decision later in the day.


Defense lawyer Joseph Prieto argued that his client posed no danger or flight risk, and couldn't afford the $15,000 cash bail set after his March 12 arrest.


Kimber, 34, of Portsmouth, faces charges of attempted felonious sexual assault, indecent exposure and certain uses of a computer prohibited. Police say he began soliciting the girl between Feb. 3 and 9 through Facebook and sent her at least one sexually explicit photo of himself.


Kimber worked for the Portsmouth school district's information technology department and coached a boy's basketball team at Noble High School in Berwick, Maine, at the time of his arrest. He has since been fired from both jobs.


Assistant County Attorney Patricia Conway argued Wednesday that McHugh should not change the terms of Kimber's bail, saying he was a danger to the community, especially to minor females.


"I talked about the fact that he was grooming this girl," Conway said. Kimber even knew the girl's parents, according to Conway.


Portsmouth police first learned of Kimber's activity through a tip sent to Seacoast Crime Stoppers. The state's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force investigated the case. Kimber was arrested in February on eight charges for allegedly communicating with the girl and sending her an explicit photo on Facebook. But police arrested him again when he appeared for a probable cause hearing in the case on March 12, adding the attempted sexual assault charge.


Previous story follows:

BRENTWOOD - A former Portsmouth school employee who was fired from his job for allegedly trying to have sex with a 14-year-old girl is asking a judge to reduce his bail.

Kenneth Kimber, 34, petitioned a Rockingham Superior Court judge for an expedited bail hearing after being jailed last month on a charge of attempted felonious sexual assault.

He is being held on $15,000 cash bail, and is expected to appear in Rockingham Superior Court this morning.

Kimber is facing eight other charges of indecent exposure and prohibited uses of a computer for trying to lure the girl to his apartment for sex between Feb. 3 and Feb. 9.

Police say Kimber had made arrangements to pick up the girl and bring her back to his apartment on Feb. 3 after communicating with her through Facebook. He also had contact with the girl through Facebook on Feb. 8 and 9, encouraging her to come to his apartment in Portsmouth before work, and sending her a photo in which he exposed himself, according to court complaints.

At the time of his arrest, Kimber was working for the Portsmouth School District's information technology department and coached a boy's basketball team at Noble High School in Berwick, Maine, police said.

Kimber was fired from both jobs as a result of his arrest, according to school officials.

Prosecutors said at Kimber's last court hearing, in March, that he could face additional charges.

A grand jury could indict him on felony charges. He was first arrested in February after a tip from Seacoast Crime Stoppers set off an investigation by the state's Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.

According to court documents, Kimber is barred from having contact from at least three minors and their families.

Defense lawyer Joseph Prieto said in a court motion that his client poses no danger to the public and is not a flight risk. Prosecutors have not yet responded to that claim.

A circuit judge previously ruled that a judge should hold what's known as a "Nebbia" hearing for Kimber if he attempts to post bail. A Nebbia proceeding is held to hear the defendant's proof that bail money was not illegally obtained.

Crime, law and justice Portsmouth

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