Joel Koskan: Details of how South Dakota state Senate candidate sexually abused a family member

Joel Koskan Dakota
Joel Koskan Dakota

Joel Koskan, a Republican running for South Dakota state Senate has been charged with child abuse, according to court documents.

Joel Koskan, 44, who ran for the state Senate seat on the Republican ballot on three occasions dating back to 2018, is accused of sexually grooming and raping a family member.

Koskan, could also face counts of rape, sexual contact with a child under the age of 16 and aggravated incest-related child, according to a probable cause statement the outlet cited.

According to, Joel Koskan began grooming the child when she was 12 years old by having her sit on his lap, kissing her and giving long hugs, according to the court docs.

The child thought the behavior was “‘normal things’ that families were supposed to do,” an investigator wrote in the document.

She realized what Koskan was doing to her was abusive at a summer camp she attended at age 14 when counselors spoke about inappropriate physical contact with adults, according to the publication.

Koskan allegedly installed a camera in her bedroom after her return from camp that he would use to constantly watch her from an app on his phone.

Joel Kaskan

He also required her to straddle him without underwear, the court documents allege.

The victim said he regularly touched her inappropriately and eventually allegedly began forcing sexual intercourse after she turned 17 years old on multiple occasions in the family’s homes across the state.

Koskan controlled the child as well with location tracking, required nightly phone calls, authority over her social media accounts and jurisdiction over what she wore, the documents say.

Koskan used GPS tracking via her phone and vehicle and learned through her location that she had gone to the sheriff’s office to speak about the reported abuse, according to the documents.

“You promised you’d never do this,” Koskan texted her on May 6. “I’m begging you, you don’t want to do this.”

Other text message exchanges between the victim and the Republican appeared to confirm her story, investigators said.

Koskan was taken into custody Thursday and has an initial hearing scheduled for Nov. 7.

Since news of the alleged abuse got out, Koskan has deleted his Twitter account and made his campaign website private.

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