A former Woodburn police officer was sentenced Wednesday to 150 days in jail and five years probation for having sex with an underage girl and soliciting sexual contact from the child online.
The sentencing came two months after Daniel Kerbs, 29, of Salem, admitted to sexually abusing a girl under the age of 16 and soliciting sex online from a child.
Kerbs was arrested at work in July by Tigard detectives following a three-week investigation.
He was held at Washington County Jail on 13 child sex crimes, including six counts of third-degree sodomy, six counts of second-degree sexual abuse and one count of first-degree online sexual corruption of a child.
Kerbs, who was acquainted with the victim’s family, was accused of repeatedly abusing the girl from 2013 to 2014 in Tigard.
Washington County Judge Charles Bailey sentenced Kerbs to less time than typical for the charges, dependent on Kerbs’ ability to enter into treatment. He is required to register as a sex offender, stay away from minors and pay for his victim’s counseling and therapy.
Kerbs was hired by the Woodburn Police Department in January 2015 as a patrol officer.
The day before his arrest, he was placed on administrative leave and remained on unpaid leave pending an internal investigation.
Woodburn Police Chief Jim Ferraris said the department conducted an internal affairs investigation, reached a conclusion and was readying to move forward with proposed disciplinary action. Kerbs chose to resign before the department took action.
Ferraris said the department worked with authorities when they learned of the Tigard police investigation.
“We cooperated with them when we were made aware of it,” he said. “(Kerbs) is no longer part of our department.”
Ferraris said he respected the court’s decision but the lack of more serious sanctions to provide justice for Kerbs’ victim was unfortunate.
“It’s disappointing at best,” he said, adding that Kerbs was a sworn corrections officer when he “chose to commit these child sex crimes.”
Ferraris said he wonders whether the short sentence will serve as a deterrent for others but hopes having to register as a sex offender and serve probation will deter Kerbs from future criminal activity.
Following his arrest, Kerbs was held on $140,000 bail, but was released a week later after posting a $14,000 bond. As part of his release agreement, Kerbs was ordered to not have any contact with minor children.
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A Washington County judge allowed Kerbs to have supervised visits with his girlfriend’s three minor children, whom he claimed were living in Washington state with their grandparents. A warrant was issued for Kerbs’ arrest in January after he was accused of lying about his address and his paternity status.
According to an attorney for the children’s legal father, Kerbs was living with the children and their mother.
The attorney expressed concern that Kerbs, a suspected predator, was spending the night at the home and sometimes sharing a bed with the children.
“We know next to nothing about Mr. Kerbs’ criminal behavior. We don’t know the extent to which the children may be at risk of abuse,” the attorney wrote in a letter to the court.
Kerbs was taken into custody after the warrant was issued. He later was released after posting bail again.
During a March 20 hearing, Kerbs pleaded guilty to two of the 13 counts. The remaining counts were dismissed.