A former northern New Jersey police officer convicted of child endangerment has been sentenced to seven years in state prison.
Jeffrey Kimmel will also have to register as a sex offender and will be placed on lifetime parole once he's freed. He was convicted of the charge in April by a Bergen County jury that also cleared him of child sexual assault charges.
Prosecutors claimed Kimmel fondled a 6-year-old girl in a relative's home in 2010. But the defense argued the girl's "sketchy memory" meant Kimmel should be acquitted on both counts.
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The Record reports the sentence imposed Friday will run consecutive to a six-year prison term the 49-year-old former Ramsey patrol officer is serving for stealing more than $110,000 from his police union while he served as its treasurer.
He received a six-year sentence on that charge but was freed on parole after serving seven months. His parole was then revoked after his child endangerment conviction.
Kimmel's attorney, Craig Swenson, had sought a lenient sentence on the child endangerment charge. He noted in court Friday that his client maintains the alleged molestation never happened and that the jury's mixed verdict was inconsistent. Swenson also said his client has paid more than $100,000 in restitution, started his own business and tried to rebuild his life since he was released on parole following the theft conviction.
Demetra Agriantonis Maurice, an assistant Bergen County prosecutor, disputed Swenson's claims. She described Kimmel as a man who started out as a police officer but ended up violating ``a sacred position of trust'' by stealing money from his own colleagues. She also said Kimmel's parents were the ones paying the restitution.