San Diego

25-Year Sentence for Photographer Convicted of Sex Crimes Against Minors

Robert Koester pleaded guilty in September to 23 felony counts

A professional photographer will spend 25 years behind bars in California for sexually assaulting clients, some of whom were minors. 

Robert Koester, 52, was charged with 24 felony counts involving four victims between 15 and 17 years old, including sexual penetration of an unconscious victim, felony sexual battery and possession and production of child pornography. The incidents spanned a two-year period, beginning in 2016 and ending in 2017.

“Victims themselves have shown an incredible amount of courage and strength to come forward and face the person who did this, especially Jane, the one who was the first to report what happened to her -- leading to the discovery of multiple victims here and in Oregon,” said Deputy District Attorney Dan Owens.

Koester changed his plea to guilty on Sept. 26 to 23 felony counts.

On Nov. 12, 2018, Koester allegedly assaulted a 16-year-old girl as she posed for a photo shoot. Koester was sub-contracted by the modeling agency, Frank.

The victim, identified as “Jane Doe 1,” told her boyfriend what happened afterwards, and he urged her to tell her parents. The family then reported the incident to the Carlsbad Police Department (CPD).

When officers arrived at Koester’s home the next day, CPD said evidence of the sex crime was found, and Koester was arrested. He posted bail and was released.

Following his arrest, three more alleged victims came forward to report misconduct and assault by Koester.

The FBI launched its own investigation to find more potential victims, including creating a confidential questionnaire for those with any information to fill out.

FBI San Diego officials said Koester owns a farm in Yamhill County, Oregon. Officials in that county are investigating additional allegations of abuse.

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