Crime

Photographer Accused of Drugging, Molesting Underage Models



(Newser)

A photographer initially accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old model engaged in numerous sex crimes against minors in two states over 25 years, according to the FBI, which is now urging victims to come forward. Robert Koester, 52, was arrested in Carlsbad, Calif., a day after photographing—and allegedly inappropriately touching—the teen last November; police said they found evidence of sexual battery, sexual penetration, and possession of child pornography at his home, per NBC San Diego. That’s apparently not all police found. Koester is now facing a total of 57 sex crime allegations involving at least eight models in California and Oregon, some as young as 15, reports the Oregonian. The outlet refers to “many terabytes of digital evidence, including photographs and videos” allegedly showing Koester assaulting nude models.


“We believe there are women who don’t know they were victims,” says Yamhill County District Attorney Bradley Berry. Koester allegedly drugged some of his victims, and at least two videos allegedly show him assaulting “unconscious and non-responsive” victims. The FBI is seeking victims, and anyone who modeled for Koester or believes they know someone who did can fill out a confidential questionnaire and send it to the FBI here. The form notes that victims have been identified in multiple cities across the US, but that when he was arrested Koester primarily worked on the West Coast. The alleged crimes may have taken place between 1994 and 2018. Koester also went by “Bert Kay,” “Rhake Winter,” and “Qitooly,” and worked out of his 28-acre farm in Yamhill County, Oregon, known as Westoak Studio. He told authorities he frequently traveled to California for shoots. (A former campus gynecologist is accused of molesting hundreds of students.)

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