A professional photographer is spending 25 years behind bars in California for sexually assaulting clients, some of whom were minors. But a new lawsuit accuses a Carlsbad modeling agency and owner who hired him for modeling shoots.
Koester, 52, was charged with 24 counts involving four victims between the ages of 15 and 17, including sexual penetration of an unconscious victim, sexual assault and possession and production of child pornography.
In September 2019, he pleaded guilty to 23 counts. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Koester was arrested in November 2018 for assaulting a 16-year-old girl while she was a model for him. At the time, he was working for Frank Model Management in Carlsbad. The agency closed its doors last April.
The victim and his family are suing the now closed agency and its former owner, Nicole Herold, for negligent hiring and supervision of Koester.
“They should never have left her alone. They knew that Mr. Koester posed a danger not only to her but to the many other girls who were injured and they should have arrested him,” said plaintiff’s attorney Jessica Pride, who specializes in family lawsuits. sexual assault.
Pride said Herold and Koester were longtime friends and worked closely together.
The civil lawsuit alleges Herold was present at a nude photoshoot the night the teen was abused.
It also says Herold had a policy requiring underage clients to be accompanied on all shoots by a parent or agency staff member. But, Herold did not enforce it and should have protected his client and other young girls, Pride said.
“Underage women should never be topless and should not be photographed. It’s illegal, it’s child pornography and Frank Model Management has licensed child pornography under their watch,” Pride told NBC 7 Investigates.
Meanwhile, Pride said other criminal charges were pending against Koester in Oregon, where he hosted a seminar for aspiring models. San Diego FBI officials said Koester owned a farm in Yamhill County, Oregon.
The lawsuit alleges that Herold encouraged parents to send their children to Koester’s “model camp” in Oregon, where the girls would be photographed by Koester.
NBC 7 Investigates has contacted Herold and his attorney regarding the civil lawsuit, but we have not yet received a response.
Pride said Herold ran another modeling agency in New York.