Koester pleads guilty to charges in California
A Yamhill County photographer arrested in February for preying on young women in Oregon and California has pled guilty to charges in California that will secure him a place in prison for a minimum of a quarter century.
Robert Arnold Koester, 52, entered the plea in San Diego Superior Court, admitting to 23 felonies, including rape, sexual battery and possession of child pornography. He is scheduled for sentencing Oct. 25 and has agreed to a 25-year prison term for his crimes, according to a story in the San Diego Union Tribune newspaper. Koester admitted to rape of an unconscious teen, rape of an intoxicated teen, statutory rape, sexual battery, luring a minor for a sexual offense, committing a lewd act with a 15-year-old and possession of child pornography at a temporary photography studio in Carlsbad, Calif. He was on contract as a photographer for a modeling agency at the time of the crimes.
Koester – who also goes by aliases Bert Kay, Rhake Winter and Qitooly – was also indicted in July at U.S. District Court in Portland on six counts of production of child pornography. Those charges stem from his business as a photographer in Yamhill County.
The indictment further alleges that Koester is a suspected serial sexual predator who took nude photos of models, some of whom were minors, and subsequently sexually assaulted them during photo shoots at Westoak Studio, located on his 28-acre rural Carlton farm at 16470 N.W. Meadowlake Road.
Koester has potentially been engaging in this conduct, the indictment said, since 1994 and was only thwarted after his arrest in November 2018 in Carlsbad, Calif.. after one of his victims, identified in court records only as "Jane Doe 1," came forward in an effort to keep him from abusing other women.
"The victims in this case showed extraordinary strength in coming forward and speaking out against this man who victimized them," San Diego Deputy District Attorney Dan Owens told the Union Tribune.
Koester was indicted in February by a Yamhill County grand jury on 32 felony counts involving four separate victims, one of whom Yamhill County District Attorney Brad Berry said was a minor.
The counts include multiple charges for first-degree rape, sodomy, unlawful sexual penetration and causing another person to ingest a controlled substance. His bail on the Yamhill County arrests was set at $2.5 million, but he is being held in a San Diego jail as his trial plays out.
Before Koester can be tried in Yamhill County, however, he is expected to go before a federal court in San Diego to face charges of creating child pornography. If he is convicted on those charges as well, his sentence would likely run concurrently to his prison term in the San Diego case, the Union Tribune article said. Once the California case is completed he would likely be extradited to Yamhill County to face state and federal charges here as well.
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