Who is Joel Koskan? South Dakota State Senate candidate accused of raping child family member for years

Who is Joel Koskan? South Dakota State Senate candidate accused of raping child family member for years
Joel Koskan, a local running for South Dakota state Senate in District 26, has been accused of child abuse (JoelKoskan.com)

Warning: This article contains recollection of child sex abuse that could be traumatic for some readers. Discretion is advised

WHITE RIVER, SOUTH DAKOTA: A Republican candidate for the South Dakota State Senate in District 26 has been accused of abusing children on Thursday, November 4, just days before the midterm elections. Joel M Koskan is accused of allegedly sexually grooming and raping his adoptive daughter. Koskan competed for the Republican nomination for the state Senate three times starting in 2018. He has also been reportedly accused of exposing the child to foreseeable injury on one count. 

Assistant Attorney General Mandy Miller charged Koskan with aggravated incest-related child, sexual contact with a child under 16, and rape, reported Daily Beast. Dan Lederman, chair of the South Dakota GOP, told Keloland News that, "The allegation against Joel Koskan is very serious, and the South Dakota Republican Party unequivocally opposes child abuse in all forms." 

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The sex offenses started in 2014 when the adopted child was brought into the home at the age of 12, according to court documents that Native News Online was able to access. In an earlier interview this year, the victim told law enforcement that she was adopted by Joel and Sally Koskan ten years ago. She told the camp counselors that her adopted father, Joel, had a sexual interest in her and wanted to have sex with her. She realized it was inappropriate contact when she was at a summer youth camp in the Black Hills. She told detectives that when the camp contacted the South Dakota Department of Social Services, she declined to provide any additional information because of the unpredictability of the state's foster care system.

She spent an additional two weeks in the Black Hills in the summer camp and as told to the investigators, when she got home her parents were angry at her and thought she was trying to split the family. For a year or two, she claimed, her father stopped touching her, and Sally, her mother, started keeping a closer eye on Joel's relationships. After she returned from the camp, a webcam was installed in her house, enabling her father to continuously view her live on his smartphone. She later told her parents that having a camera in her room made her feel incredibly uneasy, but they responded by calling her demands "disrespectful." She did not disclose Joel's finger penetration of her vagina until she was 17 years old. This incident later led to multiple instances of sexual activity between the family members in their different houses in Mellette County and Watertown, South Dakota.

Shane Hardie, a South Dakota Internet Crimes Against Children investigator, allegedly examined the victim's mobile device, which she claimed included an app that tracks her daily activities and location in real-time. Investigators have found that her phone's GPS tracking and video surveillance of her everyday activities were mentioned in a number of text exchanges. Additionally, according to the complainant, Joel sent a text message on May 6, 2022, that had the phrases "you promised you'd never do this" and "I'm begging you, you don't want to do this." 

According to court documents, Koskan has been detained and on November 7, a preliminary hearing is scheduled in a courtroom in Mellette County. He could spend up to 15 years in jail and pay fines of up to $20k if found guilty of the allegations.

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