Los Angeles County Criminal Courts Building. Photo by John Schreiber.
Los Angeles County Criminal Courts Building. Photo by John Schreiber.

A former teacher at an exclusive high school for girls pleaded not guilty Wednesday to felony sex charges stemming from his alleged relationship with a 16-year-old student.

Joseph Thomas Koetters, 47, of Santa Monica, was charged Feb. 3 with two felony counts each of oral copulation of a person under 18 and sexual penetration by a foreign object.

Koetters was an English teacher at the Marlborough School in Hancock Park when he allegedly initiated a sexual relationship with the 16-year-old girl in 2000. The criminal complaint alleges that the crimes occurred between June 2000 and June 2002.

The young woman notified police last July after learning about other alleged victims through an Internet blog post, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

According to Detective Kim Porter, who heads the sex crimes unit at the Los Angeles Police Department’s West Bureau, two other alleged victims were also interviewed. But one of the incidents allegedly occurred too long ago to file charges, and the other allegedly occurred in Nevada, Porter said.

Koetters taught at Marlborough School for 14 years, according to an interview he gave to the newspaper of the Polytechnic School in Pasadena, where he subsequently went on to teach briefly.

Koetters is free on $140,000 bail posted shortly after his arrest Feb. 4.

If convicted as charged, he could face up to five years in state prison.

City News Service

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