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Prominent California neurosurgeon and nurse arrested for lewd acts on a child

Neurosurgeon James Joel Kohut and a nurse who worked with him, Rashel Brandon, were recently arrested on multiple charges including lewd acts on a child. A third party is also in custody, but their identity has not yet been released.

Kohut, 57, was arrested on Mother’s Day and one charge of oral copulation with a child under the age of 10 and two charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14. He was booked into the Santa Cruz County Jail and is being held without bail reported the Mercury News.

Brandon, 42, was arrested on May 11 and faces 11 felony counts including lewd acts on a child, oral copulation with a child, and production of child pornography. Brandon appeared in court on May 12 and plead not guilty to 8 charges, according to the Register-Pajaronian.

Kohut and Brandon worked together at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz. He had recently accepted a position at Sparks Neuroscience Center in Fort Smith, Arkansas, according to 40/29 TV.  He was to be introduced to the community at an open house scheduled for June 9.

40/29 TV reported that at the time of his hire, Sparks Health System issued a welcoming statement.

 “We are very excited to welcome Dr. Kohut and his wife Karen to Sparks. As many of you know he will provide a much-needed service to this area.”

When the Fort Smith news station contacted Sparks Health System Administrators they were told Kohut is “no longer employed by Sparks.”

Sadly, this is not the first time Kohut has faced similar trouble. According to the Mercury News, Kohut had been disciplined in 2003 for viewing pornography on University medical Center computers while working there as a neurosurgeon. He was placed on 3 years probation for that offense and was required to attend therapy, according to California Department of Consumer Affairs records.

Kohut received his medical training at Albany Medical College and completed residencies at the University of Vermont and University of Michigan. He has worked for Dominican Hospital and Sutter maternity and Surgery Center of Santa Cruz.

The Watsonville Police Department was the first agency to receive information in this case and, according to the  Mercury News .

“I can confirm we have three people in custody and that this is a very serious sexual abuse case. I can also confirm the case crosses state lines,” WPD Captain Jorge Zamora stated.

Other agencies involved in the investigation include the FBI, the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s office, and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force Program.

Watsonville Police will hold a press conference regarding the case on Thursday afternoon.

[Feature Photo: Police Handout]