An area man is in police custody without bond after being charged with child molestation in St. Francois County this week. Authorities began investigating last week following reports from elementary school staff concerned about a girl.
James T. Koeller III, 37, of Park Hills and Bonne Terre, has been charged with first-degree child molestation and statutory sodomy or attempted statutory sodomy/deviate sexual intercourse involving a person less than 12 years of age.
According to a probable cause statement from the Park Hills Police Department, a student made a comment to her teacher at an area elementary school, which led to suspicions of potential sexual contact.
The report states Division of Family Services workers responded to the school and interviewed the child while detectives were present. During the interview, the child reportedly said a male relative, identified as Koeller, repeatedly touched her private areas while wearing blue latex gloves.
While performing a subsequent search of Koeller’s residence, investigators allegedly found the latex gloves, sexual devices, and lubricants said to have been used during the reported molestation.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Park Hills Police Department issued a stop-and-hold request to all area law enforcement regarding Koeller. The man was later booked at the St. Francois County Detention Center, where he is being held without bond. An initial appearance in the case was held Thursday morning.
The probable cause statement indicates that authorities are investigating additional pending allegations from other children with whom Koeller had close contact.
Bobby Radford is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org