A Kennewick man is facing up to 10 years in prison after admitting Monday to meeting 13-year-old girls through a dating site and offering them money and alcohol in exchange for sex.
Jeremy L. Kimball’s trial was to start Monday morning in Benton County Superior Court. Instead, he entered a guilty plea to five charges, including commercial sex abuse of a minor, sexual exploitation of a minor and extortion with sexual motivation.
The “Alford” plea means he maintains he’s innocent but believes a jury would convict him based on the evidence.
The maximum sentence is 10 years for the felonies, but prosecutors agreed to recommend a lower exceptional sentence of three years in exchange for his plea. Sentencing is Jan. 18 following a presentence background report by the state. He has just one prior felony conviction for theft.
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Kimball, 31, was arrested in July 2015 after two girls came forward with stories of either being paid or offered cash and alcohol for sex.
According to court documents, Kimball met one girl in early June through a dating site’s mobile application, and they began texting each other. The girl said he was very “pushy” and wanted nude photographs of her to make sure she was “legit,” so she complied.
Kimball offered her $60 for oral sex and they arranged a meeting, he picked her up and drove her to his house, where he allegedly changed the offer to $120 for sex, but she refused.
At one point she said she wanted to go home but Kimball forced her to have sex, court documents said. While driving her home, he got alcohol from a convenience store and gave it to her, along with $70, documents said.
When he wanted to meet up again that week she turned him down. The girl told a friend and that girl contacted Kimball.
Kimball offered the second girl $85 and alcohol but he wanted her to send nude photos, court documents said. She initially told him she was 16.
When the girl backed out on plans to meet him, Kimball threatened to distribute the explicit pictures if she didn’t have sex with him.
The girl then admitted she was 13, and Kimball upped his offer to $150, documents said.
The girl got scared and went to her mother, who called police.
Kimball first denied engaging in any sex acts with an underage girl, then told detectives he gave one girl $50 and beer, court documents said. He claimed he believed the first girl was 16, and said they had consensual sex, documents said.
Kimball also allegedly admitted asking the girl if she had a friend, and said he was willing to pay her once he learned her real age but that nothing would have happened.