Not guilty plea in lewd case

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SANDPOINT — A Spirit Lake man facing multiple lewd conduct with a minor charges pleaded not guilty on Monday, according to 1st District Court records.

The plea by Kenneth Bernard Kimbley III sets the stage for a jury trial in November.

A Bonner County grand jury indicted Kimbley on nine counts of lewd conduct in June, although the indictment remains filed under seal. The allegations appear to date back to 2011, according to Idaho iCourt records.

Kimbley was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail, although his defense counsel filed a motion seeking his own-recognizance release which argued his family ties to the area eliminated the risk of fleeing to avoid prosecution. Court minutes from the hearing were not available on Monday, so it’s not clear if the motion was granted or not.

Kimbley, 36, is among a number of people who have been indicted on lewd conduct charges by a grand jury. Grand jury proceedings are becoming more common in Bonner County and are also utilized in Kootenai and Ada counties. Some believe grand juries are being convened in sexual abuse cases to limit the strain on youthful victims who are called to testify in a public proceeding.

The grand jury process bypasses the need for a preliminary hearing, which requires alleged victims to recount the abuse they suffered in an open court proceeding prior to a jury trial.

Lewd conduct with a minor is punishable by a lifelong prison sentence.

Kimbley has convictions for misdemeanor drug possession and traffic-related offenses in northern Idaho, according to iCourt.

Keith Kinnaird can be reached by email at kkinnaird@bonnercountydailybee.com and follow him on Twitter @KeithDailyBee.

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