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Testimony to begin in PBSO deputy’s attempted rape trial

Jason Nebergall (WPEC)

A woman claims a Palm Beach County deputy broke her trust and violated her.

Now, a jury is about to hear both sides of the attempted rape case against Deputy Jason Nebergall.

A judge seated a jury for Nebergall’s trial late Monday afternoon.

The case stems from when Nebergall responded to a series of calls for help on a night in July 2016.

The alleged victim claims Nebergall later returned, still in uniform, and began kissing her on her chest and touching her sexually.

The woman told investigators Nebergall exposed himself, pulled her underwear down and started thrusting himself on her backside. She said he stopped, saying he needed to leave to get a condom and would return.

When he spoke with investigators, Nebergall denied touching the woman.

Patrick McKamey, a former prosecutor turned defense attorney, says the case may come down to credibility.

“She’s not trained on how to properly testify in a courtroom setting,” he said. “On the other hand, you’ve got the deputy, who is trained and polished on courtroom testimony, as most officers are.”

As a prosecutor, McKamey specialized in homicides and sex crimes. He said adult victims typically don’t get as much sympathy from a jury, versus a child victim.

“When you’re dealing with an adult victim in a sex case, jurors tend to be a little more cynical of their testimony, a little less forgiving of inconsistent statements,” McKamey said.

During jury selection, the defense team raised an issue it feels could be a challenge for Nebergall.

Nebergall is white while the alleged victim is African-American.

Defense attorney Michael Salnick asked prospective jurors if this would affect their feelings about the case.

Nebergall was originally charged with rape, but prosecutors recently modified the charge to attempted rape.

He is now on unpaid leave with the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

Openings statements and the first witnesses are expected to begin Tuesday morning.

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