A married senate in the state of South Dakota, hopeful, was charged with child abuse, leading him to claim that he nursed, molested and raped a female relative.
Joel Koskan, 44, a Republican running for a third time as a state Senate candidate, was arrested Thursday after an investigation by the State Attorney’s Office, the Mitchell Republic reports.
He was accused of taking care of the child by kissing her, giving her long hugs and having her sit on his lap, making her believe there was nothing wrong with his behavior.
‘[The woman] thought they were ‘normal things’ for families to do,” the South Dakota Division of Criminal Investigation wrote in its investigation after the victim reported Koskan.
She told investigators that Koskan had installed a camera in her bedroom when she was 14 to watch her on his phone and started molesting and raping her when she was 17, which happened “many times” and in several homes across the state.
According to text messages from the victim, Koskan appeared to be tracking her movements when she contacted investigators on May 6.
“You promised never to do this,” Koskan texted her. “I’m begging you, you don’t want to do this.”
Joel Koskan (above), 44, a Republican running for South Dakota State Senate, was charged with grooming, molesting and raping a female relative
Koskan, pictured with wife Sally, reportedly began nursing the victim when she was 12, and was accused of raping her multiple times when she turned 17
According to the charges against Koskan obtained by the Daily Mail, the victim was 14 when she realized something was wrong while attending a religious summer camp.
She said rescuers warned children that they could be sexually abused by adults, making the victim realize what Koskan was doing to her was wrong.
After speaking with her counsel, they contacted the Ministry of Social Affairs, but the case was eventually dropped when the victim refused to cooperate.
She told state investigators in May that she was then afraid to speak out because she had issues with abandonment and feared she would be evicted from her family.
The victim said her family reprimanded her for reporting Koskan, saying that although the abuse stopped for two years, it resumed when she was 16.
She said other family members were aware of the situation, and when she tried to distance herself from Koskan, she was told she was “disrespectful” and had to apologize and sit next to him.
The indictment also states that Koskan placed cameras in her room to watch her change, forcing the victim to hide in the closet, and that he would “force her not to wear a bra as she got older.”
According to the victim’s statement, when she confronted Koskan’s wife, Sally, about the abuse, she said she “just had to lock her bedroom door” to prevent Koskan from getting to her.
The victim added that Koskan managed all of her social media accounts, blocked or unfollowed her male friends and reprimanded her for attending lectures with mostly male classmates.
Koskan reportedly kept a camera in the victim’s room to watch her changes. She said when she first accused him of misconduct when she was 14, the family including Sally (above with Koskan) reprimanded her for trying to ruin their family
Koskan faces multiple charges of rape, sexual contact with a child under 16 and aggravated incest charges. He could face up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $20,000.
Koskan was not immediately available for comment.
Since news of the allegation came out, his Twitter account has been deleted and his campaign website made private.
The Democratic Party of South Dakota has since called on him to end his campaign immediately.
“These allegations against Joel Koskan are deeply disturbing and he must end his campaign immediately,” Democratic Party chairman Randy Seiler said in a statement.
“While he will still appear on the ballot, the choice for District 26 voters could not be clearer. Aside from partisan politics, Joel Koskan should not vote in legislature on issues affecting children in South Dakota — or any issues for that matter.”
South Dakota GOP Chairman Dan Lederman also condemned Koskan in response to his arrest.
“The allegation against Joel Koskan is very serious and the Republican Party in South Dakota is unequivocally against child abuse in all forms,” Lederman said. “The Republican Party in South Dakota is confident that the justice system will process the allegation.”