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Priest Convicted of Molesting Girl

Apr 17, 2002 | AP A Roman Catholic priest faces as much as 14 years in prison after his conviction on charges of molesting a 13-year-old girl more than two decades ago.

The Rev. Don Kimball was convicted Tuesday on the molestation charge, which dated from 1981. He also was acquitted of charges he raped another teen-age girl in a church in 1977.

Kimball, 58, was a popular youth minister who used rock 'n' roll to impart religious messages before the church removed him from his duties.

He had denied the charges, though he admitted to having sex with adult women. He was tried more than two decades after the alleged crimes because of recent changes in state law that extended the statute of limitations for sex crimes involving children.

Kimball will be sentenced May 15 on one count of committing a forcible lewd act upon a child and one count of committing a lewd act upon a child. The acts took place at St. John's Rectory in Healdsburg.

"This is for all the survivors of Don Kimball and clergy everywhere," the molestation victim, Ellen Brem, now 34, said after the verdict. "I don't know if anyone who's been abused can every really move on."

Kimball faces a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

He had also been accused of raping Mary Agbayani, then 14, behind the altar of a Santa Rosa church in 1977. Agbayani claimed Kimball arranged an abortion when he got her pregnant.

Agbayani, now 38, said Tuesday she was not disappointed that Kimball was found innocent of rape.

"I feel like justice has been served," she said. "Doors are being opened and daughters are talking to mothers."

Kimball is one of about a dozen Catholic clergymen who worked or lived in the Santa Rosa diocese who have been accused of sexual misconduct since 1989.

The diocese says it has spent $7.4 million on settlements, counseling and attorneys' fees on sex abuse cases. That includes $1.6 million to settle a case against Kimball.

Kimball still faces an April 23 arraignment for allegedly assaulting a San Francisco Chronicle photographer outside the courtroom.

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