Ex-Marlborough School teacher arrested on sex charges involving student

Joseph Thomas Koetters, a former Marlborough School teacher, is arrested on felony sex charges

A former English teacher at Marlborough School, a private all-girls high school in Hancock Park, was arrested Wednesday on felony charges of sex crimes involving a former student at the school, authorities said.

Joseph Thomas Koetters, 47, was arrested Wednesday morning and released hours later on $140,000 bail. He is charged with two counts each of oral copulation and penetration with a foreign object involving someone under 18, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Koetters allegedly initiated a yearlong sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student beginning in 2000, according to a district attorney’s office statement. He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in downtown Los Angeles. 

The victim came forward to police in July after sexual harassment allegations against Koetters surfaced in an essay by another former Marlborough student that was published in the online magazine xoJane last year.

David M. Ring, an attorney who represents the former student involved in the current case, said his client does not wish to comment and will let the criminal proceedings run their course.

Ring told The Times on Tuesday that his client became pregnant by the teacher and later had a miscarriage.

Ring, who said he plans to file a civil suit against Koetters and the school, said his client's story was the subject of a recent Vanity Fair article.

Koetters, who worked at Marlborough for more than a decade and then briefly at Polytechnic School in Pasadena, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Last year, a team commissioned by the school's board investigated allegations against Koetters and concluded that there existed a "pattern of misconduct" by the teacher and "mistakes in judgment" by top school officials. In November, the school's chief administrator announced she would step down.

In a statement, the school on Wednesday said the top priorities are the safety and welfare of students. 

“Marlborough School expresses its deep sympathy for the victims of the sexual misconduct that has come to light,” the statement said.

Koetters faces up to five years in state prison if convicted on all charges, the district attorney’s office said. 

The Los Angeles Police Department's sex crimes unit is investigating the case. Detectives said Tuesday that they interviewed two other alleged victims, but one incident happened too long ago to file charges and the other occurred in Nevada. Another person has reached out to detectives, who are planning to speak to that person in coming days.

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