Chapter 9: Damaged

March 15th, 2010

Growing up in Lafayette, Scott Kimball meets the man who would scar him forever

By John Aguilar
Camera Staff Writer

Police mugshots of Scott Kimball through the years, starting with his first felony conviction in Beaverhead County, Mont., in 1988, center. (Courtesy of Boulder County DA’s Office)

Police knew early on that Scott Kimball could be trouble.

Within a few years of joining the Lafayette police force in 1976, Mark Battersby responded to a call involving the adolescent Kimball, who grew up in Old Town.

The boy had gotten a hold of one of his father’s guns and was shooting out of his home, hitting other houses.

“I knew he was going to be a handful,” remembers Battersby, who’s now a commander with the department.

Born Sept. 21, 1966, Kimball attended Lafayette Elementary and Lafayette Middle schools, and he spent one month at Centaurus High before withdrawing as a freshman.

“He wasn’t one of the popular kids,” says Tina Goeden, 42, who went to elementary school with Kimball. “He was pretty quiet.”

Kimball’s parents divorced in 1976. His mother, Barb Kimball, would fall in love with another woman, and his father, Virgil Kimball, eventually moved out of the state and remarried.

Distressed by the breakup of his parents’ marriage, Kimball spent time with his grandmother at Lafayette’s Skylark Mobile Home Park, where he met a 41-year-old computer programmer who would scar him forever.

1976 to 1983

The get-togethers began innocently enough — games at a bowling alley and trips to the mountains.

Theodore Peyton gave 10-year-old Kimball gifts and attention. He drove him to his cabin on the shores of Nederland’s Barker Reservoir, where they’d spend hours playing video games and goofing around.

But Peyton wanted more.


Read more about Peyton, and
how the abuse affected Kimball.

One night, he walked in on Kimball taking a bath and asked if the boy wanted his back washed. He told Kimball he wanted to give him a massage.

Peyton began leafing through pornographic magazines and pleasuring himself in front of the boy. He asked Kimball to touch him. Soon, he had Kimball pose for naked photos.

As Kimball entered his teen years, the visits to “Ted’s cabin” became increasingly sadistic.

Peyton plied Kimball with alcohol-spiked orange juice, engaged him in sexually charged games of “Truth or Dare” and snapped hundreds of Polaroid photos of him naked and tied up. Touching and fondling progressed to oral and anal sex.

Peyton warned Kimball not to tell his parents, brandishing a gun on one occasion and threatening to kill his father if he squealed.

Even after Kimball joined his father and brother to start high school in Hamilton, Mont. — a town of 4,000 south of Missoula — Peyton continued to molest him on trips back to Colorado.

The abuse wouldn’t end for seven years — just before Kimball dropped out of school and made a life of his own, hunting and guiding clients on big-game expeditions in the Bitterroot Mountains surrounding Hamilton.

October 1989

The dark secret in Nederland went unreported until Kimball turned 23 and shot himself in the head.

On a hunting trip with his brother in western Montana, Kimball had just returned to their motel. In the room alone, he put the barrel of a .30-30 rifle against his forehead and pulled the trigger.

The Camera covered Theodore Peyton's 1991 trial. (Camera archives)

The bullet, which glanced off his skull, combined with the backblast from the shot to tear a hole in his forehead. Kimball, in critical condition, lay in the hospital for several days.

His cousin Ed Coet remembers noticing a dramatic change in Kimball — whose forehead remains visibly scarred to this day — once he recovered.

“It’s like he lost his conscience,” Coet recalls. “He was never the same after that.”

In the aftermath of the suicide attempt, Kimball and several other young men told Boulder County sheriff’s investigators what Peyton did to them.

Peyton would be arrested after several months of investigation, convicted by a jury on six counts of sexual assault on a child and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Adulthood

Scott Kimball “blames everything on the abuse,” his mother told police years later. The episodes in Nederland made Kimball feel “ashamed as a man,” according to one of his girlfriends.

After high school, Kimball drifted from job to job and was married and divorced twice by his early 30s. He also began finding himself increasingly on the wrong side of the law.

He earned his first felony in 1988, for writing bad checks at Montana hotels. The same year, he got busted for passing a bad check in Missoula County, Mont., and breaking into two Broomfield homes and stealing a fishing pole, two rifles and a shotgun.

Scott Kimball and his mother, Barb, at the Blue Parrot restaurant in Louisville, two weeks after Kimball's release from prison as an FBI informant. (Courtesy of Ed Coet)

While he largely managed to avoid jail time, Kimball constantly had someone chasing him down who felt stiffed or cheated.

“It was not uncommon to have a process server on our porch every other week serving us papers,” remembers Larissa Hentz, his second wife, with whom he had two sons. “He always had an excuse. It was never his fault.”

The couple moved to Spokane, Wash., in the early ’90s, and Kimball got into the timber business.

He pulled off brazen logging scams, Hentz said, and swindled money from her dentist and the bishops at her church.

Two years after Kimball and Hentz divorced in 1997, she told Spokane police he kidnapped her at gunpoint and raped her repeatedly. Because the couple had continued having consensual sex after their split, prosecutors felt they couldn’t bring a case.

Even so, Kimball was winding up in court — and jail — on a more regular basis.

Spokane police started investigating him for three counts of check forgery. He landed in a Montana prison in 2000, following the revocation of a suspended sentence from his 1988 Missoula County case.

After being moved to a pre-release prison center in Helena, Mont., Kimball worked as a cashier at an E-Z Stop gas station, reporting back to the camp at the end of each shift. On July 29, 2001, while working at the station alone, he stole $677 and hit the road in a stolen truck.

Authorities in Montana’s Lewis & Clark County issued a warrant for his arrest on felony escape charges.

Kimball made his way to Alaska and kept a low profile for several months. Using his brother’s name, he got engaged to a woman, Catherine Curtiss, who never knew him as anyone but Brett Kimball.

Kimball escaped from the Helena, Mont., prison pre-release center in July 2001, stealing a truck and $677. (Courtesy photo)

By November, he needed cash.

Using a computer and blank check stock purchased at an office supply store, Scott Kimball forged nearly $25,000 in checks using his brother’s name.

Alaska authorities caught up with him, recovering $11,300 in hundred-dollar bills in a Cordova hotel where he stayed with Curtiss.

Held in an Anchorage prison, with old warrants stacking up, Kimball started making himself useful.

He told the FBI his cellmate was plotting to kill a federal judge, a federal prosecutor and two witnesses. Kimball would also provide information about the October 2001 assassination of Tom Wales, a federal prosecutor in Seattle whose murder remains unsolved.

Keying in on this white-collar criminal with a gift for gaining people’s confidence, federal authorities took custody of Kimball and overlooked his outstanding warrants. They transferred him to FCI-Englewood prison in Colorado on June 1, 2002.

Six months later, he was released as an FBI informant.

“I was extremely angry that the bureau had essentially ignored my request for extradition,” said Leo Gallagher, the Lewis & Clark County attorney who wanted to prosecute Kimball on the Montana theft and escape charges. “They never got a hold of me. They just put him on the street in Colorado.”

And back on the street, Kimball did what he knew best. Check fraud and forgery had become his stock and trade, and he wasn’t going to stop even as an FBI informant.

But Kimball’s ability to play the justice system would falter a few years later in the basement of a small rose-colored office building in downtown Lafayette, as he tried to pull off his greatest theft of all.

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