Joel Koskan, a Republican running for the South Dakota State Senate, has been charged with felony child abuse after he allegedly groomed and raped a young family member for years, The New York Post reports.
The abuse of the young girl began in 2014 and continued for at least six years. He 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 shared by the Mitchell Republic.
"The Senate hopeful 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 Post's report stated. "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."
Koskan even reportedly installed a camera in the girls room so he could watch her from an app on his phone. The girl said he regularly touched her inappropriately and began forcing sexual intercourse when she turned 17.
“These allegations concerning Joel Koskan are deeply disturbing, and he should immediately end his campaign,” party chairman Randy Seiler said in a statement. “While he will still appear on the ballot, the choice for the voters of District 26 couldn’t be clearer. Partisan politics aside, Joel Koskan should not be voting in the legislature on issues that affect South Dakota kids — or any issues at all.”
Read the full report over at The New York Post.