PIERRE, SD – Former South Dakota Senate candidate Joel Koskan has been sentenced to ten years in prison on two counts of consanguineous marriage.
Judge Margo Northup, a judge in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, decided to sentence Koskan to the maximum sentence and pay a fine of about $20,000.
The charges Koskan pleaded guilty to stemmed from crimes committed in his home.
“He acted more like a jealous lover than a father,” Northup said. “He took advantage of a child he thought was his father.”
However, after the investigation began, Koskan’s need for control did not end. Immediately after Koskan learned that the victim had reported his crimes to the Spink County Sheriff’s Office, Koskan attempted to pressure the victim into dropping the charges against him.
Shortly after the victim first contacted police, Koskan reported to police that the victim’s vehicle had been stolen.
As a result, the victim struggled with mental health issues, especially having intermittent panic attacks when talking to law enforcement and prosecutors.
“He wouldn’t be in the position he is in if it weren’t for the actions of the defendant,” said Brent Kempema, the deputy attorney general who represented the prosecution.
Koskan’s family also pressured the victim not to cooperate with law enforcement agencies. According to prosecutors, Koskan’s family members sent the victim a news article detailing how a former South Dakota state lawmaker dropped rape charges against him because the victims did not cooperate with the investigation.
“The defendant’s gambling was not profitable. He gambled that he would come back and he didn’t,” Kempema said in his closing remarks. “He must pay for his failed gamble.”
Koskan apologized to the victim during Tuesday’s hearing.
Koskan, a Wood resident, has been an active and involved member of her community for years. In addition to helping run his family’s farm, Koskan served at one time as a firefighter and on the local school board.
“As far as public image goes, he had a clean slate,” Northup said of Koskan.
But Koskan’s life and personality at home was completely different. A self-confessed porn addict, Koskan “monitored every aspect of his victim’s life,” placing cameras in their rooms and tracking their whereabouts into adulthood.
Koskan and his attorney, Clint Sargent of Sioux Falls, initially reached a heavily criticized plea deal with the state that would not require Koskan to serve any prison time or register as a sex offender. Last month, Judge Northup rejected the plea deal.
Now, Koskan must serve both prison time and register as a sex offender when he re-enters the community.
The victim submitted a victim impact statement to the court during the hearing of the case.
“You went to school and you know the laws and you know what to do,” the victim told the judge. “It’s been going on too long and it’s been very difficult for me….His work will be with him for a long time, but it will be with me forever.”
Attorney General Marty Jackley released the following statement about the verdict:
“Justice was served in this case because the victim overcame extraordinary circumstances to cooperate with the prosecution,” Jackley said. “We applaud the victim for his courage and praise the hard work of investigators and prosecutors.”
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