Former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Detective Neil David Kimball.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A judge has approved a $5.5 million settlement of a lawsuit filed against Los Angeles County on behalf of a teenage girl who was sexually abused by a former sheriff’s detective in 2017.

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Detective Neil David Kimball, 47, of Agoura, pleaded guilty last July to child molestation charges. He was sentenced last August by a Ventura County Superior Court judge to three years in prison for crimes committed in that county between October and December 2017, when the girl was 15.

Kimball handled sexual abuse crimes in his job and had been assigned to investigate the victim’s claim that she had been sexually assaulted, authorities said.

In approving the lawsuit settlement, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Yolanda Orozco said she hoped that the money would be used in part to fund a college education for the plaintiff, now 17, and that the payment would be “not just for her to spend.”

The plaintiff sat in the front row with her father, but did not speak.

A judge’s approval of the settlement was needed because the plaintiff is a minor and will not be 18 until November.

“This a horrifying case about a detective in the sex crimes unit of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department using his power to rape a minor … he was assigned to protect,” according to court papers filed on the girl’s behalf.

During the course of Kimball’s investigation, he used his position as a detective to spend time alone with the girl to gain her trust and lure her to his private trailer, where, “acting under the color of law,” he falsely imprisoned and sexually assaulted her, according to the plaintiff’s court papers.

Kimball, a 20-year department veteran, was arrested in November 2018 after a month-long investigation.