A San Diego photographer has been arrested for sexually abusing several teenage girls during private photoshoot sessions. According to reports, 52-year-old Robert Koester encouraged the girls to pose nude before touching them inappropriately. He also photographed himself in the nude with at least one of the girls. He’s accused of sexually abusing at least four girls between 2017 and 2018. Authorities believe that there are more victims who have yet to come forward.
Koester faces both state and federal criminal charges. In California, he has been charged with sexual battery and forcible sexual penetration. He also faces criminal charges for rape and first-degree sodomy in Oregon.
Sex Crimes Against Minors
Koester faces dozens of felony counts for his alleged sex crimes against minors. Specifically, he has been charged with sexual battery and sexual penetration of a minor. Sex crimes involving children are particularly reprehensible in California. Prosecutors will not hesitate to seek the maximum allowable penalty under state law.
Sexual battery, as defined in California Penal Code 243.4 PC, occurs when you touch the intimate parts of another person against their will for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse. In other words, it’s a crime to touch another person’s private areas without their consent for a sexual purpose.
Intimate parts include female breasts, buttocks, sexual organs, and groin. The purpose of the sexual touching can be to arouse/gratify/abuse yourself, the victim, or a third person.
California’s sexual battery law is one of the state’s most commonly charged sex crimes. It can be a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the specific circumstances of a case.
Sexual battery may be a misdemeanor if:
- There was no application of force or fear, or
- Contact was made through the victim’s clothing, rather than directly with their skin.
As a misdemeanor, sexual battery is punishable by between 6 months and 1 year in a San Diego County jail and $2,000 in fines. A conviction also requires registration as a sex offender for at least 10 years.
Sexual battery may be a felony if:
- The victim is a child,
- The victim was unlawfully restrained,
- The victim was forced to touch the defendant or another person’s intimate parts against their will,
- The defendant abused a position of power to commit the crime.
As a felony, sexual battery is punishable by between 2 and 4 years in a California state prison and $10,000 in fines. A conviction also requires mandatory registration as a sex offender for life.
Forcible sexual penetration is defined in Penal Code 289 PC. The crime involves:
- Committing an act of sexual penetration of another person
- With a foreign object
- Against their will and without their consent
- Using force, fear, or intimidation.
California has defined sexual penetration to mean “penetration, however slight, of the genital or anal opening of another person…for the purpose of sexual abuse, arousal, or gratification.” Sexual penetration can also be defined to mean forcing a victim to penetrate the defendant, themselves, or a third person.
A foreign object is “any object, substance, instrument, device, or part of the body, including a penis, if it is not known what object penetrated the opening.”
In other words, it is a crime to force any object inside of another person’s genitals or anus for a sexual purpose without their consent.
Sexual penetration is a felony offense in California. Penalties can include 3 to 8 years in a California state prison and $10,000 in fines.
The penalties for sexual penetration are aggravated when the crime involves a minor. If a victim is over the age of 14, the punishment for the crime is between 6 and 10 years in prison. For victims under the age of 14, a defendant can be sentenced to up to 12 years behind bars.
A conviction will require registration as a sex offender for at least 10 years.