London veterinarian David L. Kipp will spend 10 days in jail and pay a $250 fine for groping a teenage office worker last winter.
Kipp, 54, pleaded guilty in Madison County Municipal Court on Tuesday to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct, stemming from an incident at his London Animal Hospital, 254 Lafayette St. Kipp was initially charged with sexual imposition.
Judge Eric M. Schooley sentenced Kipp to 30 days behind bars, but suspended 20 days of the jail time. He also fined Kipp $250 and forbid the veterinarian from having unsupervised contact with girls under age 18.
Conviction of the fourth-degree misdemeanor prevented Schooley from ordering Kipp to register as a sex offender with mandatory reporting requirements.
Schooley questioned the plea deal, noting conviction of the lesser charge “takes away the flavor of the offense.”
London Law Director Zahid Siddiqi said he agreed to reduce the charge because not all elements needed for conviction of sexual imposition were present in the accusations against Kipp. In addition, Kipp has no criminal history.
The victim and her family, who were present in court on Tuesday, agreed to the reduction, Siddiqi said.
Defense attorney Paul J. Kavanagh said Kipp’s actions stemmed from a gregarious personality. He noted his client is currently in counseling to determine the cause of his inappropriate behavior.
“It has to do with who he is,” Kavanagh said.
Kipp apologized to the girl and her family on Tuesday.
The girl said she trusted Kipp and the Feb. 9 incident shook her ability to trust others.
Schooley complimented the teen for speaking out.
“You are very brave to come this morning,” the judge said.
According to a police report, Kipp hugged the girl from behind and touched her chest during an office exchange on Feb. 9. He allegedly also made an inappropriate remark to the girl.
The girl resigned immediately, then notified authorities.
Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 16 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.