Crime
Crime

Surgeon, Nurses Arrested For Sexual Abuse Of Children

| by Alex Scarr

A doctor and two nurses have been charged with raping children while working at a California hospital.

Dr. James Kohut, 57, is facing multiple felony counts of child abuse, which included sodomy, forced penetration and oral copulation, while he worked as a neurosurgeon at a hospital in Santa Cruz County, according to KSBW.

Two nurses, Rashel Melina Brandon, 42, and Emily Joy Stephens, 29, also allegedly engaged in the abuse while working with Kohut.

New information also claims Kohut wished to impregnate women so he could have sexual relationships with their children, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Kohut was the target of several criminal investigations for more than a decade. Police believe he has been engaging in child abuse for several years.

The prosecution alleges Kohut lured women from all over the country to start "taboo families" with him, in which Kohut and the woman would raise the child in a sexual environment. He allegedly brought partners from across California and the rest of the country as early as 1997. He also reportedly brought a woman from Australia for the purpose of creating his "taboo family."

Allegations against Kohut also stem from an encounter in 2003, when he expressed interest in having sexual relations with a woman and her young daughter. Kohut is currently facing 11 felonies.

"Kohut has a sexual compulsion and has solicited victims for decades,” wrote Assistant District Attorney Steven Moore. "Multiple police agencies have investigated the defendant over the last 20 years, including: Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office, Seaside police, Australian Federal Police as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation have investigated defendant for similar crimes going back to 1997."

Kohut's case caught the attention of Dr. Eli Newberger, a pediatrician at Boston's Children's Hospital. Newberger has been an expert witness on many child-sex cases and founded his hospital's child protection team.

"Very frequently, people of higher social status are able to escape prosecution,” Newberger said. "They can hire good lawyers. These things can go on for years. Sometimes, it’s ultimately the images that catch up with the offenders."

Allegations from as recent as May 9 have also been brought forward. Photos were allegedly found depicting Stephens performing sexual acts on a child with a note: "James Kohut made me do this."

Moore says he and Brandon had more elaborate plans for the future.

"He would constantly ask Brandon to bring him other girls," Moore wrote. "Brandon describes how the two of them made plans to adopt a child through a foster care facility and even had plans to try to adopt a child from the country of Mexico."

Sources: KSBW, Santa Cruz Sentinel / Photo credit: Phalinn Ooi/Flickr

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