From BuzzFeed by Katie Baker:
A popular English teacher who taught at two of Los Angeles’ most prestigious private high schools left his current job last week after BuzzFeed made inquiries into allegations that he pursued inappropriate relationships with teenage girls while at the Marlborough School, ranging from flirtatious emails and suggestive comments to a full-blown sexual relationship.

On Sunday night, both the Marlborough School and the Polytechnic School released statements assuring families that they were swiftly addressing the allegations against a former teacher. (Polytechnic’s administration clarified that it was not aware of any allegations of misconduct during the teacher’s employment at the school.)

BuzzFeed has learned that the teacher is Joe Koetters, who taught English at Marlborough — Southern California’s oldest all-girls private school — for 14 years before leaving for Polytechnic in 2013.

The nationally renowned institutions said they were committed to transparency, which is why they were disclosing the information. Marlborough said it immediately notified both the Los Angeles Police Department and Child Protective Services after it learned last week that a graduate alleged an inappropriate physical relationship with Koetters more than a decade ago, and that it had hired Debra Wong Yang, the former United States attorney for the Central District of California and a partner at Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, to lead an independent investigation.

But BuzzFeed’s investigation found that both schools had been aware that Koetters sent numerous inappropriate emails in 2011 to Mikaela Gilbert-Lurie, then a 16-year-old junior at Marlborough, who told administrators that although their relationship was never sexual, Koetters told her he couldn’t control himself around her.

When Mikaela and her family reported Koetters to the school in 2012, Marlborough responded by stripping Koetters of his English department chairmanship and forbidding him from contacting Mikaela, among other disciplinary actions. But the school did not fire him and Koetters remained at Marlborough alongside Mikaela for a full year.

Koetters did not respond to BuzzFeed’s repeated requests for comment.

Polytechnic knew about Mikaela’s allegations before hiring Koetters, thanks to calls from both Marlborough and Leslie Gilbert-Lurie, Mikaela’s mother. But Koetters did not leave Polytechnic until BuzzFeed contacted the school for comment. In a July 10 statement, Polytechnic confirmed that Koetters no longer worked at the school and that it “considered a range of information and perspectives” before hiring Koetters.

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