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Sat, Dec. 14

Sex charges investigated before, called ‘unsubstantiated’; bond set for ex-city employee

Neil Campbell

Neil Campbell

A cash bond of $25,000 has been set for former City of Prescott employee Neil Campbell, who was charged with child sex offenses in late August.

The decision was announced by Yavapai County Superior Court Judge Tina Ainley during a "Simpson hearing" on Thursday, Sept. 28.

Campbell, 59, is facing one count each of continuous sexual abuse of a minor, sexual contact with a minor, and child molestation.

The charges are in relation to alleged abuse he committed on a child related to him between 1989 and 1997.

Sixteen years ago, an investigation into the same allegations took place in Tucson. The case was eventually closed as “unsubstantiated,” according to information gathered by Campbell’s defense attorney, Jennifer Levine.

Campbell denied all sexual abuse with the relative 16 years ago when the case was first brought against him and continues to hold that position today.

Simpson hearings take place as a means to determine whether or not someone should be kept in jail without an opportunity for bail. To achieve this, the prosecutor needs to show “the proof is evident or the presumption great” that the accused has committed one of the offenses listed in Arizona Revised Statutes §13-3961, according to the Arizona Court of Appeals. Included on that list of offenses are sexual conduct with a minor who is under 15 years of age and molestation of a child who is under 15 years of age.

The prosecutor would also have to show that the person charged is a danger to the community and that no release conditions would sufficiently protect the community from the person.

Before the hearing started, Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Mike McGill said the state would not be pursuing the no bond hold, saying he did not believe the state could meet the Simpson hearing standards set by the Arizona Court of Appeals.

“I didn’t see it as a good use of the court’s time,” McGill said.

Instead, McGill simply recommended a high bond given the nature of the case, leaving it up to Ainley to decide what would be appropriate.

Arguing that the state has a weak case and that Campbell is an upstanding member of society, defense attorney Jennifer Levine asked for a $10,000 bond.

“These events allegedly occurred over 20 years ago,” Levine said. “Neil has no prior criminal history. He has ties with nonprofits. He is not a danger to the community.”

She also pointed out that the alleged victim is the only one making such claims against Campbell.

“There is no one else alleging any type of inappropriate behavior,” Levine said.

Presented with the information, Ainley said a bond would be set, but that $10,000 wouldn’t cut it.

“In my mind, given the nature of the charges themselves, $10,000 is just insufficient for this court,” Ainley said.

In addition to a $25,000 bond, Campbell is required to stay in Arizona, surrender his passport, have no contact with the victim and consume no alcohol or drugs without a prescription. His next appearance is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Nov. 13 at Yavapai County Superior Courthouse.

Campbell had worked for the City of Prescott since 2003, first as an Animal Control officer and then as a Parking Enforcement officer, but has been fired. He has been in the Camp Verde jail since his arrest more than one month ago.

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