South Dakota state Senate candidate charged with child abuse amid allegations of rape, incest

GOP hopeful has been accused of grooming family member for years.

Updated: November 6, 2022 - 6:01am

A Republican hopeful for the South Dakota state senate has been charged with child abuse amid allegations of having groomed and sexually abused a family member for years.

Joel Koskan was charged in Mellette County with "sexual grooming behaviors" following official investigations including from Assistant Attorney General Mandy Miller. Law enforcement became aware of the allegations in May when Koskan’s alleged victim reported him to police. 

The politician reportedly exercised significant control over the alleged victim’s social media accounts and interactions with others, including tracking her via GPS. 

Authorities said text messages showed him begging the victim to not report him to authorities in May. 

"You promised you’d never do this," Koskan texted her. "I’m begging you, you don’t want to do this."

State Democratic officials called on Koskan to drop out of the race in light of the charges. 

"These allegations concerning Joel Koskan are deeply disturbing, and he should immediately end his campaign," state Democratic Party chairman Randy Seiler said this week. 

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