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Jurors to continue deliberating fate of former Ramsey officer in child-sex trial

Photo Credit: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

UPDATE: Jurors in the child sex abuse trial of former Ramsey police officer Jeffrey Kimmel adjourned this afternoon without reaching a verdict after reviewing a pair of video-recorded interviews of the girl by investigators.

Kimmel, 49, of Oakland, could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted of sexual assault and child endangerment. He remains held without bail in the Bergen County Jail.

Jurors began deliberating in Hackensack late yesterday following closing arguments by Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Demetra Maurice and defense attorney Craig Swenson.

Swenson focused his statement on the minutia of the testimony — dissecting what those who testified said compared with a timeline that he said proves the alleged incidents couldn’t have happened.

“You are going to find the state has not proven their case beyond a reasonable doubt,” the defense attorney told jurors. “They have not proven a single element.  If they have not proved his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, you must find him not guilty.”

Maurice kept their attention on deciding whether the child was molested.

“You’ll ask yourselves why people do bad things,” she said.  “Why would he do such a horrible thing to a little girl?

“But that’s not before you — only if it happened.”

Maurice then outlined the “tools” she said the jury could use during deliberations.

“How do you judge credibility of witnesses?” she asked. “People lie because they have an agenda, and they try to get out from under something bad.”

Like Swenson, Maurice reviewed key points of testimony, particularly from Kimmel himself.

She noted that he testified very positively as to the times and events of the weekend in question but “couldn’t remember what he was convicted of” three years ago.

Sentenced to six years in prison in July 2009 for stealing more than $133,000 from his former department and union, Kimmel was released into a supervisory program after seven months.

However, members of the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office Special Victims Unit arrested the former dispatcher and traffic officer again last April on charges of sexually touching the girl.

The girl, now 9, testified during the trial that she was molested on Halloween weekend 2010, when she was 6.

“It hurt,” she said, breaking into sobs.

Swenson asked her very specific questions that she couldn’t answer, including what the residence where she said she was molested looked like, among others. She also said she couldn’t remember talking with investigators.

“I understand she was only 6, but we’re talking about a man’s life here,” Swenson said, noting that the girl seemed to remember some things but not others.

Maurice, in turn, told jurors that the youngster, because of her age, wasn’t able to describe her experience in adult terms.

She was put on the stand because Maurice said the jurors needed to see the recording of her interviews with detectives.

STORY / PHOTO: Mary K. Miraglia, CLIFFVIEW PILOT Courthouse Reporter

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