Former Marlborough School teacher accused of sexually abusing a student

A former teacher at Marlborough School, a private all-girls high school in Hancock Park, was charged Tuesday with four felony sex crimes involving a girl who was a student at the school, a Los Angeles police official said.

Joseph Thomas Koetters, 47, is accused of oral copulation and penetration with a foreign object involving someone under 18, said Det. Kim Porter, who heads the sex crimes unit in LAPD’s West Bureau.

Porter said detectives spoke with two other alleged victims, but one incident happened too long ago to file charges and the other occurred in Nevada.


Another person reached out to detectives about Koetters, and Porter said they plan to speak with that person in the coming days.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office declined to comment. Koetters, who worked at Marlborough for more than a decade and then briefly at Polytechnic School in Pasadena, could not be reached for comment.

David M. Ring, an attorney for a former student, said his client was a 16-year-old student in Koetters’ English class at Marlborough in the early 2000s.

Ring said Koetters paid his client compliments and then set up one-on-one meetings in which he made her feel like “the special star student.”

Koetters began sharing details about his personal life and calling the student on the phone. One day, Ring said, the teacher put his hand on his client’s knee.

“Next thing you know, she’s in quicksand,” Ring said.

She became pregnant by the teacher and had a miscarriage, the attorney said.

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.

Porter declined to comment on whether the charges involve the former student whose account was detailed by Vanity Fair.

A team commissioned by the school’s board investigated allegations against Koetters and last year concluded that there was a “pattern of misconduct” by the teacher and “mistakes in judgment” by top school officials. The school’s chief administrator announced she would step down.

Sexual harassment allegations against the former teacher surfaced in an essay by a former Marlborough student that was published in the online magazine xoJane in June of last year.