Grand jury indicts high school senior accused of sex assault on 27 counts

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Jill Galus

Posted on May 8, 2014 at 8:04 AM

Updated Monday, May 12 at 3:27 PM

Accused 18-year-old faces 147-335 years in prison

SAN TAN VALLEY, Ariz. -- The grand jury of Pinal County has indicted suspected serial rapist Tyler Kost on 27 counts.

The indictment includes 11 alleged victims ranging in age from 12 to 17. He will be arraigned on Friday, May 16/

Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles made the announcement Thursday morning, breaking down the charges.

  • 3 counts - sexual abuse of a minor younger than 15
  • 6 counts - sexual conduct with a minor younger than 15
  • 1 count - child molestation
  • 7 counts -sexual assault of a minor 15 years or older
  • 7 counts - sexual abuse of a minor 15 years or older
  • 3 counts - sexual conduct with a minor 15 years or older

According to Voyles, the incidents in which Kost is accused date back to Oct. 1, 2009, with the most recent taking place on April 29, the day after Kost was first arrested.

Although the prosecutor asked for a bond of $100,000, Superior Court Judge Larry Wharton set it at $10,000, which means Kost only had to come up with 10 percent -- $1,000.

Deputies arrested Kost again just days later after more alleged victims came forward. On May 2, Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu held a news conference to announce 25 new charges. During that news conference, he described Kost as "a serious and serial sex offender and rapist."

After Kost's second arrest, a judge ordered Kost held without bond.

Kost's attorney told the judge at the hearing that he is extremely concerned about Babeu's behavior in the case and how it impacts the court and Kost's rights to due process and a fair trial.

Kost's attorney asked the judge to remove the Pinal County Sheriff's Office from the investigation and place a gag order on the sheriff's office. He also requested a change of venue for all further proceedings.

The judge said he could not address those issues and advised Kost's lawyer to bring them up when Kost is formally charged.

No bond is what Babeu wanted. He said he is certain there are more victims who have not come forward.

"To have this many victims come forward at this point, reason stands that we'll have a number of other victims and witnesses that will likely come forward," he said. "We want to tell the victims that it is not their fault," he said. "We want to let all these victims know they're not alone. ... We want to get them help, even if they don't support us in our criminal prosecution."

Voyles also urges victims to contact authorities.

"Our office, as in all sexual abuse and all abuse cases, we start by believing," Voyles said when he announced the grand jury indictment. "So, if there are any other victims, in this case or any other case, I encourage you to come forward, talk to the police and let us meet with you. ... Let me ensure that we are doing everything we can to increase the response to the victims and to indiduals who come forward."

Kost, 18, is a senior at Poston Butte, but he reportedly had been studying online at home for the past several months after claiming several girls had been bullying him. A school investigation found no evidence to support his allegations.

The grand jury indictment includes 11 alleged victims, but investigators believe Kost assaulted at least 18 girls.

If convicted on all 27 counts, Kost could face a minimum sentence of 147 years in prison and a maximum of 335.75 years.

Anyone with any information about these cases is asked to contact PCSO detectives at 520-866-5161 or 1-800-420-8689.

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