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There's a potentially chilling case of sexual assault out of the Phoenix area.  A high school senior from San Tan Valley, south of Phoenix, is suspected of molesting as many as 18 girls between the ages of 13 and 17 over a three-year period.

Tyler Kost was re-arrested by Pinal County sheriff's deputies Thursday evening as the number of potential victims climbed to 18 and according to Sheriff Paul Babeu, there could be more.

On Friday, Pinal County Attorney Lando Voyles said the judge ordered Kost, 18, held without bond based on the severity of the allegations against him but Voyles hasn't seen the case yet and can not file official charges.

"At this time, we don't know what we're going to do," Voyles said. "The Sheriff's Office hasn't completed its investigation."

Kost was under investigation for molesting 13 girls, and Pinal County sheriff's deputies had enough evidence related to one of the cases to arrest him on Monday.  He was released on $10,000 bond.  In the last week, enough evidence turned up about the other 12 for Babeu to make another arrest.  Also in the last week, five more girls have come forward.  Not surprisingly, he is now being held without bond.

This case makes for horrifying reading.  A sheriff's detective was tipped off a few weeks ago that Kost had molested five girls.  They subsequently found evidence that he'd molested eight more, at least one of whom ended up getting pregnant.  They also have evidence that Kost threatened and intimidated his victims via text messages and social media exchanges.  The most chilling of these involves a girl that Kost allegedly hounded into attempting suicide.  That girl was subsequently forced to flee Arizona for her life after Kost texted her in the hospital threatening to "make her life a living hell" if she ever came back to Poston Butte High School in Florence, where they both attended.

Incredibly, back in February, Kost claimed that he was the one being bullied.  A short time later, school officials were alerted about the sexual assault case.  Kost has been taking online classes for most of the spring semester, though he wasn't formally suspended from school until his initial arrest on Monday.

It turns out that when Kost was originally arrested, prosecutors sought to have him held on $100,000 bond.  Some of his neighbors aren't at all comfortable that he only got one-tenth of that.  Two of them, Tara McDowell and Connie Chartier, run an in-home day care across the street from Kost's home, and were so frightened that a suspected rapist was out and about that they kept their kids inside on Wednesday.  Hard to blame them.  After all, I was mystified that Jerry Sandusky was allowed out on bail even though his house is near a playground and a school.

This is simply ghastly if true--and if it is, Kost should be locked up for a very, very long time.  

Originally posted to House of LIGHTS on Sat May 03, 2014 at 11:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by This Week in the War on Women.

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