New details emerged in court on Tuesday involving a Santa Cruz, California, brain surgeon and two nurses accused of molesting and videoing young children.
KSBW reports that Dr. James Kohut, a neurosurgeon who worked at the Sutter Maternity and Surgery Center, as well as the Dominican Hospital, is charged with 10 counts of felony child sex abuse, including sodomy, oral copulation, sexual penetration. According to District Attorney Jeff Rosell, three victims were identified, all under the age of 10. The abuse allegedly went on for over a year, between January 2016 and May 2017.
Two women were also charged in the case. They’ve been identified as Kohut’s former nurses, Rashel Melina Brandon (pictured middle) , 42, and Emily Joy Stephens (pictured left), 29. Kohut, a married man, was reportedly having affairs with both nurses. All three are accused of committing sex crimes against three children, ages three, five, and nine.
Kohut’s lawyer Nick Cvietkovich, said that his client is innocent and that the allegations against the doctor were completely false.
“Doctor Kohut has spent his life saving people’s lives. He is a renowned brain surgeon. This is not conduct that he would participate in. And I think at the end of the day, the evidence will show this is not true.”
Watsonville police disagree. They began investigating Kohut and the nurses after Brandon’s husband found a video of her and Stephens “committing graphic sex acts together against the children.” After police reviewed the video, Brandon was arrested on May 9. She admitted her part in the video and reportedly revealed how Kohut was involved in the disturbing child sex ring. Stephens was arrested on May 12, followed by Kohut’s arrest on May 14.
Brandon, an ICU staff nurse at Dominican Hospital, is facing charges of “committing sexual penetration, oral copulation, and sodomy against three children.” Stephens, also a nurse at Dominican Hospital, is facing the same charges.
Brandon, married with children, was in the process of a divorce when she was arrested.
According to court documents, Kohut paid the majority of both nurses’ bills. It’s unknown if Kohut used his financial influence to convince the women to take part in the sex ring.
If convicted, each suspect faces the possibility of life in prison.
[Feature Photo: Watsonville Police Department]