By Mia Machado and Ella Jennings
SACRAMENTO – When a convicted child molester came back to court here last week to be resentenced, Deputy District Attorney Nancy Cochrane revealed that the prisoner’s former defense attorney, Joseph E. Martin, completed the original trial “knowing that another child had disclosed abuse at the hands of the defendant.”
Defendant Gregory Kosanke—a former youth basketball coach and Sacramento radio personality—appeared in Sacramento County Superior Court Friday for a resentencing of his child molestation conviction that occurred in December of 2018.
While currently serving six years in state prison, the defendant now faces two additional charges for the molestation of two separate children, who only came forward in 2019. The defendant’s no contest pleas for both of his new charges will be added to his prior conviction, earning him an aggregate term of eight years in state prison.
In recounting the factual basis of Kosanke’s previous conviction, DDA Nancy Cochrane disclosed the truth behind why the defendant’s neighbor, who once “considered the defendant to be one of his closest friends,” did not appear as a character witness on trial as previously planned.
Kosanke’s neighbor said that, while preparing for trial testimony at the defendant’s home, he had allowed his daughter, 10, to be interviewed by then-defense attorney Martin and his investigator “outside of his presence.”
Once home, Kosanke’s neighbor asked his daughter what was discussed.
The daughter revealed that “the defense attorney and the investigator had asked her if she had ever been touched by the defendant,” to which she replied, “Yes.”
Although attorney Martin then knew that there was now more than one victim abused at the hands of the defendant, the facts were kept hidden and the trial proceeded as planned.
DDA Cochrane provided the court with background on the defendant’s previous conviction.
In 2016, the defendant and family had been living in a neighborhood “where they were considered a popular family.” Both the defendant and his wife worked in radio and “opened their home to most of the neighbors and their children.”
There were usually children in and out of the defendant’s home visiting with the children of the defendant, and neighbors agreed how involved Kosanke was in the lives of all the young girls.
At the time, the defendant had two young daughters of his own, and coached their recreational basketball league which consisted of other young girls. Many of his daughters’ friends would frequent the home.
“There was a trampoline, crafts, barbecues, parties, and the defendant was known in the neighborhood for always tickling the young girls…everyone seemed to love the defendant and trust him,” said DDA Cochrane.
During the pendency of that case as well as during the trial, the People were provided with numerous defense investigation reports of character witnesses that the defense indicated would be called during their case.
One of Kosanke’s friends and a neighbor appeared as a witness, and provided a four-and-a-half page single-spaced document attesting to the goodness of the defendant’s character.
The individual who had written this statement “considered the defendant to be one of his closest friends.” In the report, he indicated that he and his family had lived across the street from the defendant for more than two years, and the defendant and his wife had even been present at his wedding.
He stated that “he had 100 percent confidence that the defendant would never inappropriately touch a child.” In fact, he even disbelieved the incident had occurred; his own daughters spent hours at the defendant’s house, and he and his wife said they admired the defendant very much and trusted him completely.
However, when the two learned their daughter’s first disclosure of being inappropriately touched by the defendant was to the defendant’s own defense attorney and investigator, they were “devastated.”
The defendant had “betrayed them,” they said, and they had realized that the defendant had been “the evil they were so trying to protect their girls from.” They could not believe how they had been betrayed and lied to by the defendant, that the defendant had touched their girls.
Only after the trial was completed—with Kosanke sentenced to six years in state prison—did DDA Cochrane learn, through a voicemail from Kosanke’s neighbor, about what transpired in the home of the defendant.
The trial ended as planned, despite defense attorney Martin’s knowledge that another child had suffered abuse at the hands of the defendant.
DDA Cochrane then reached out to an investigator to have all three children of the defendant’s neighbor interviewed, two of whom disclosed being touched by the defendant. New charges were then filed against the defendant, which brought them to the court last week.
After the defendant pleaded no contest to the felony charges and waived his rights to appeal, the previous case was resentenced from six years to a total of eight years in state prison. He is required to register as a sex offender and is pleading to strike offenses.
Sentencing will proceed on March 5, at 9 a.m. in Dept. 10.
Mia Machado is a junior at UC Davis, currently majoring in Political Science-Public Service and minoring in Luso-Brazilian studies. She is originally from Berkeley, California. She is a team member on the Chesa Boudin Recall – Changing the Narrative Project.
Ella Jennings is a second-year at Westmont College with a double major in Psychology and Art. She is from Burbank, California.
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