Former Marlborough School teacher to plead to sex abuse of minors

Former teacher Joseph Thomas Koetters, left, appears at his arraignment on felony sex counts on Feb. 25.

Former teacher Joseph Thomas Koetters, left, appears at his arraignment on felony sex counts on Feb. 25.

(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

A former Marlborough School teacher charged with sexually abusing two students more than a decade ago is expected to plead to four criminal counts next week as part of a deal with prosecutors, his attorney and the victims’ attorney said Wednesday.

Joseph Thomas Koetters faces multiple charges that could send him to jail for 11 years. He has agreed to plead to the four counts related to sex acts with two teenage girls, the attorneys said. He is accused of abusing one student in 2000 and another in 2004.

As part of the deal, Koetters will be sentenced to a year in county jail and will be required to register as a sex offender, said David Ring, who is representing both victims.


“It appears Mr. Koetters will accept responsibility in the criminal court for his sexual crimes against these girls,” Ring said. “I hope Marlborough will now own up and admit its fault in allowing this to occur under its watch.”

One of the victims has already sued the elite private Hancock Park school, where Koetters once taught English.

That then-16-year-old girl became pregnant with Koetters’ child in 2000 but had a miscarriage, Ring said.

Leonard Levine, Koetters’ attorney, said the longtime teacher will enter his plea next week to end the criminal case. “It is a fair resolution,“ he said.

A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office acknowledged that there would be a hearing on the case next week but wouldn’t comment on a plea.

Koetters worked at Marlborough for more than a decade and then briefly at Polytechnic School in Pasadena.


Last year, a team commissioned by Marlborough’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 that she would step down. That administrator, according to the school investigation, did not fully investigate allegations against Koetters.

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