Investigators seek victims of photographer accused of sex crimes
A former Carlton man is facing charges for sex crimes involving at least four alleged victims, and investigators believe he may have abused others as well.
Robert Arnold Koester, a photographer who used his residence and property in the 16000 block of Northwest Meadowlake Road as a studio, was arrested on Nov. 13 in California by the Carlsbad Police Department. In addition to two federal charges of producing child pornography and 23 felony charges in San Diego County, Calif., the FBI said he was charged in Yamhill County Circuit Court on Jan. 30 with 32 felony counts, including first-degree rape, sodomy and unlawful sexual penetration.
Prosecutors allege Koester, 52, is a serial predator who assaulted both girls and adult women. The FBI said investigators believe the string of alleged abuses may date back 25 years.
In a press conference Wednesday, Feb. 6, at the Yamhill County Courthouse in McMinnville, District Attorney Brad Berry said investigators are seeking the public's help as there is a "huge" number of photos and videos seized from Koester's property that feature women who authorities have been unable to identify. The FBI, working with Yamhill County and California authorities, has set up a system to collect information to identify other potential victims.
"Much of what we've seen we believe is West Coast, California and Oregon," Berry said of the victims, although he did say given the modeling industry, it is possible Koester brought in women from around the country.
"We are looking to put together a complete picture of what happened," said Steve Goldman, assistant special agent in charge for the FBI.
Koester has used a number of aliases in the past, the Yamhill County Sheriff's Office said, including "Bert Kay," "Rhake Winter" and "Qitooly." At the time of his arrest, he was living and operating in Southern California.
The FBI said Koester photographed nude models, including children under the age of 18. Investigators believe he sexually assaulted "many" of his models, the bureau added.
Koester is also charged with drugging several alleged victims.
According to Berry, Koester has owned the property near Carlton — several miles south of the Cherry Grove area — since late 2012 or 2013. Investigators searched the property in November and again in January, Berry said.
The FBI said Koester is in custody in San Diego following his Nov. 13 arrest.
No alleged co-conspirators have been charged at this point, according to Berry.
In Oregon, Koester's rape, sodomy, and unlawful penetration charges all fall under Measure 11 laws, meaning they carry mandatory minimums in prison if convicted. Those three charges each carry a mandatory minimum of eight years and four months, which could be served concurrently or consecutively, depending on the judge's decision. Under this level of Measure 11, no probation, parole or early release would be granted.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with more information from a press conference in McMinnville and background on Oregon's sentencing guidelines, as well as to clarify that the defendant in the case is a former resident of Carlton now living in California.
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