Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

News

Former Student Accuses Teacher Of Sexual Abuse After Reading Essay About Him

LAist relies on your reader support.
Your tax-deductible gift today powers our reporters and keeps us independent. We rely on you, our reader, not paywalls to stay funded because we believe important news and information should be freely accessible to all.


You may remember a story about a charismatic English teacher at a prestigious L.A. high school who was accused of flirting with his students in an essay posted on xoJane last summer. Charges filed against him this week indicate he may have had a sexual relationship with an underage student years before. Joseph Koetters, 47, was once an English teacher at Marlborough School, an all-girls private school in Hancock Park that costs $30,000 a year to attend. He is accused of carrying on a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student for over a year while employed at Marlborough, the L.A. Times reports. He's charged with two counts of oral copulation with a person under 18 and sexual penetration with a foreign object, according to a release for the L.A. County District Attorney's Office.

Koetters allegedly initiated the relationship back in 2000. The victim only told police about the relationship in 2014 after reading the essay and learning about other victims.

Koetters was popular and well-liked by students, according to the essay in xoJane by Mikaela Gilbert-Lurie, a former student who said he repeatedly flirted with her during the 2011-12 school year. He said he called her school mandated outfit "too alluring," and told her she was a "temptress." When he asked her to meet him after school, she told her brother. He printed out all the emails exchanged between Gilbert-Laurie and Koetters, and her parents took the emails to the school. Koetters was punished with counseling, but not fired. He would continue to work at Marlborough until 2013 when he transferred to Polytechnic in Pasadena.

Gilbert-Lurie wrote:

Support for LAist comes from
He's still everyone's favorite English teacher, and until the day I graduated he stared at me. Then he left to teach at another school. This is the first time I've told this story publicly, and I'm sorry there's not a more satisfying ending. Some things just leave you feeling empty.

Following the article's publication in xoJane, Gilbert-Laurie told Buzzfeed that eight other woman contacted her via Facebook, saying that they had similar experiences with Koetters. Though she had not mentioned him by name, the other women knew exactly which teacher she meant.

Though Gilbert-Laurie's family said they had warned Polytechnic about Koetters, he remained employed there until Buzzfeed inquired about him. Polytechnic sent out an email at that time saying that they had received no complaints about him during his employment at the school.

Koetters' arraignment is set for Thursday. If found guilty, Koetters faces up to five years behind bars.