Kimmerling had fought attempt by gay couple to adopt 8-year-old girl
ANDERSON [Indiana] – An Anderson man who gained statewide attention by fighting attempts by a gay couple to adopt an 8-year-old girl under his foster care now is charged with molesting her.
Earl "Butch" Kimmerling, a 51-year-old school bus driver who adopted the girl with his wife, confessed in a videotaped interview to molesting the child, according to Anderson police.
Kimmerling battled a gay couple from Indianapolis when they tried to adopt the girl last year. He and his wife, Sandi, gained support in their fight from religious and political leaders in Anderson and across Indiana.
But Kimmerling now faces four counts of felony child molestation, according to court records. Accounts Kimmerling and his daughter gave police were consistent, Anderson police spokesman Mitch Carroll said.
He was released from the Madison County Detention Center on a $35,000 bond Friday evening and will be arraigned this morning. If convicted, he faces between 20 and 116 years in prison.
Sandi Kimmerling refused to comment and her husband was unavailable Friday night. She filed charges with Anderson police on May 11, Anderson police investigator Dale Koons said.
The girl – now 9 years old – told police the abuse began last April, before the adoption controversy hit its zenith.
The Kimmerlings and their pastor, Brad Brizendine of Center of Faith Church, launched a campaign opposing homosexual adoption last August.
That’s when they found out the girl, who they had cared for over more than five years, would be reunited with her three younger brothers and placed with a homosexual Indianapolis couple.
Anderson Mayor Mark Lawler was one of the couple’s most prominent boosters and attended the adoption finalization at the Kimmerlings’ request. Lawler was unavailable for comment on Friday.
The controversy even extended to the General Assembly, where Republican state representatives Jack Lutz of Anderson and Woody Burton of Greenwood proposed a bill to ban gay adoptions in Indiana.
A bill that would have made it harder for gays to adopt passed the Republican-controlled Indiana Senate, but died in the Democrat-run House.
The Kimmerlings, who have been foster parents since 1991 and shared their home with about 50 foster children, legally adopted the girl Oct. 23. Custody of her three brothers was granted to the two homosexual men.
While there is no protective order against Earl Kimmerling, police said they will make sure he is not able to contact his daughter while the case is under investigation.
"With a case like this, there’s no way we’d allow him to have any contact with her," Carroll said.
Earl Kimmerling moved out of the home after his wife learned of the abuse, and had been cooperating with police, Carroll said.
Andrew Stoner, a spokesman for the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, called the case tragic. The state will review how Madison County officials evaluate possible foster parents, Stoner said.
"There does need to be a complete review of what went wrong, but right now, I don’t see any indication that they didn’t do everything they could to prevent this," Stoner said.
The investigation is open and may extend to other foster children cared for by the Kimmerlings, Carroll said. It was unclear where the girl was living as of Friday, police and prosecutors said.