A brain surgeon and two nurses have been arrested in California on charges of sexual abuse of children. According to People, seven children aged 3 to 13 were the victims of the three medical professionals. The investigation into the three individuals began on May 9, 2017. Police in Watsonville received a video during the investigation “that showed several adults engaging in lewd acts with children as young as 3 years of age.”
The Mercury News is reporting the names of the individuals arrested which are Dr. James Kohut, Emily Stephens, and Rashel Brandon. Doctor Kohut is a traveling neurosurgeon who has addresses in Fort Smith, Arkansas; Tuscon, Arizona; Merced, California; and Santa Cruz, California.
Judge has waived arraignment until May 26th for Dr James Kohut He remains in custody w/ no bail pic.twitter.com/8Sy8bfzZS3
— Phillip Gomez (@KSBWPhil) May 17, 2017
According to the Mercury News, the brain surgeon and the nurses forced the seven children to perform sexual acts that included oral sex, sodomy, and sexual intercourse. Watsonville Police Chief David Honda held a press conference on May 18 and gave details of what the police discovered during their investigation.
“Based on the evidence at this time, we believe that these individuals were working together. We also believe that we have all suspects associated with this case in custody.”
The video that police received on May 9 came from a member of the community. The video was shot at a motel in Scotts Valley and showed the two nurses engaged in sexual activity with children. This evidence led police to past allegations against Dr. Kohut in which he allegedly made boys and girls engage in sexual intercourse with him.
According to police reports, Rashel Brandon was the first of the trio to be taken into custody at her house in Watsonville on the evening of May 10. Emily Stephens was apprehended in Tuscon, Arizona, which is where she works as a nurse. Dr. Kohut was linked to the crimes when evidence was discovered at a house in Santa Cruz.
Police state that Kohut is being charged with lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14, lewd and lascivious acts with force with a child under 14, and specific sex acts with a child under 10. All in all, 10 felonies are being charged against Kohut and six of them carry with them sentences that would see the brain surgeon spend the rest of his life in prison.
Prior to his arrest, Kohut abruptly left his workplace without notifying any of his patients that he would not be treating them. One of these patients, David Singleton was shocked when he learned that Dr. Kohut was arrested.
“I was due to have surgery from him in two months. He seemed to be kind of distant … It just seems like he just wanted to slip out the back door. It really caught me off guard the doctor left without sending me a letter that I would be referred to another neurosurgeon.”
Doctor Kohut made is first court appearance on May 17. Kohut’s attorney, Nick Cvietkovich commented on the character of his client.
“Dr. Kohut is a renowned neurosurgeon. He has spent his life saving the lives of others.”
In regards to the charges faced by Rashel Brandon and Emily Stephens, KION is reporting that Brandon has eight charges pending which include sodomy and using minors to make sex videos. Stephens claims she has no involvement and is fighting extradition from Arizona which is where she is currently in custody. Deputy District Attorney, Steven Moore, commented on what Stephens is claiming.
“She has formally denied that she is the person we think that she is. So she is fighting extradition. But we anticipate getting her here as soon as possible.”
Even though Moore told KION that he could not comment on too many details of this case, he did say that eventually, everything would come to light during the trial.
“Every case is unique, every case is different. So we just again are looking forward to our opportunity to present our facts in open court.”
— Felix Cortez (@FelixKSBW) May 15, 2017
If found guilty of the charges stemming from the sexual abuse of children, what sentence do you think Kohut, Stephens, and Brandon should receive?
[Featured Image by Pressmaster/Shutterstock]