Admitted molester faces trial



A 48-year-old man will face a trial on three counts of child molestation, even though he previously pleaded guilty to one of those counts.

Jeffrey Koski, accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy in 1984, pleaded guilty on Dec. 20. In exchange for his plea, Tuolumne County Assistant District Attorney Michael Knowles dropped the other counts and recommended a mandatory three-year prison sentence. County Superior Court Judge Doug Boyack accepted the plea bargain.

But at the formal sentencing hearing last week, Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge Eric DuTemple threw out the deal, saying that a three-year term was too lenient.

Koski returned to DuTemple's court yesterday when the defendant was to state whether he would accept an eight-year-sentence or stand trial. Koski chose a trial.

He is now due back in court Feb. 10 for a preliminary hearing on the three charges.

The victim, 31 and living in another state, may now be called to testify, Knowles said.

The victim and Koski are related, said the victim's mother, Barbara Tangen.

"I am very much interested in seeing (Koski) get the maximum amount of time possible," Tangen said.

The 1984 incident was not reported to law enforcement until 1998, when the victim told his mother about what occurred while he and Koski were on a camping trip to west Tuolumne County.

Tangen said she feels the District Attorney's Office has strong evidence, including a tape-recorded telephone conversation in which Koski allegedly admits the crime to the victim.

In 1986, Koski was convicted of child molestation in Alameda County two years after the Groveland incident. For that crime Koski received five years' probation and was required to register as a sex offender.

After an investigation, Knowles issued an arrest warrant for Koski, who fled to Russia. In November, after a trip back to the United States, Koski was trying to return to Russia when he was detained by customs agents at San Francisco International Airport who had discovered the warrant.

The Union Democrat
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