A brain surgeon accused of raping multiple children has been found dead in prison cell after reportedly taking his own life.
James Kohut, 58, was found alone in his cell by officers at Santa Cruz County Jail in California when breakfast service began on Sunday at 5.45am.
Santa Cruz County Coroner’s office, detectives and crime scene investigators are conducting an investigation to determine the cause of death.
An autopsy is due to be conducted later this week, but an early investigation by a pathologist indicates that Kohut took his own life, KSBW reported.
Neurosurgeon James Kohut, 58, who was accused of raping multiple children, has been found dead in prison cell in California after reportedly taking his own life
Kohut, 58, was found unresponsive and alone in his cell by officers at Santa Cruz County Jail in California when breakfast service began on Sunday at 5.45am
James Kohut, 58, who worked at the Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz at the time of his arrest in 2017, was accused of running a sex ring with two other defendants, Rachel Brandon, 44, and Emily Stephens, 31.
The neurosurgeon allegedly had affairs with Brandon and Stephens, who were both nurses, and also other mothers.
Children were sexually abused during some of their encounters together, according to an arrest warrant served by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department on Stephens, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Prosecutors claimed that Kohut preyed on children for two decades, and none of the alleged abuse occurred at medical facilities. The state medical board revoked Kohut’s license June 1, 2017, according to the news outlet.
Text messages revealed how the group spoke of having more children for a ‘taboo family’, where they would all have sexual relations with one another.
An inspector with the district attorney’s office, Kelli Freitas, stated at a hearing back in October that Kohut and Stephens, 31, had been involved for eight years.
Kohut met Brandon when they worked together in intensive care at Dominican Hospital, Santa Cruz, and it remains unclear where he met Stephens.
Freitas revealed that Stephens’ four children lived in the nude and had sex with adults.
In one video from March 2017, Stephens brought two children to Kohut’s home where the doctor orally copulated a girl, 5, as one of the women held her arms down and touched another boy’s genitals.
He also directed the two women as they engaged in sex acts with the children, who could be seen in the footage referring to Kohut as ‘Dr. Daddy’, said Freitas.
Kohut had a sexual relationship with Stephens (left) for eight years and Brandon (right) for just a few months when the three were arrested on sex trafficking and abuse charges in 2017
House of horrors: The home of Brandon (above) where the three adults filmed themselves sexually abusing children
Brandon began having a sexual relationship with the doctor in 2016, said Freitas, at which time Kohut expressed his desire to impregnate her and start a ‘taboo’ family where they would have sex with their children.
All three were already having sex with the children of both Brandon and Stephens at that time, according to Freitas. Detectives obtained two hours of footage that allegedly shows the defendants raping some of those children.
Freitas also revealed after interviewing one of the children that the trio forced them to have sex with each other and would ‘pile their bodies on top of each other’.
Testimony later revealed that one of Stephens’ children was likely fathered by Kohut.
Text messages (one above) also reveal how the group spoke of having more children for a ‘taboo family’
Kohut was charged with 48 felonies, while Stephens and Brandon were charged with 45 and 44 respectively in a superseding indictment filed in September of last year.
The video is the most damning piece of evidence in the case, and what led to the arrest of the three.
In court last October, details were revealed about how and where the video was filmed.
It turns out there were videos, with the group taping themselves on a camera, phone and GoPro as they allegedly assaulted the children.
Those videos were filmed between January and May of 2017, and one video showed just Stephens.
That video was filmed by Brandon at the request of Kohut, who said he wanted to make sure that Stephens would not inform his wife of his taboo relationships and planned to use the tape to guarantee her silence.
There were also texts introduced into evidence in which Brandon and Kohut discuss their plan to blackmail Stephens.
Freitas stated that Kohut also used the tape to get Stephens to bring her child to him so he could sexually abuse the boy, threatening to release the footage is she did not abide by his demands.
Brandon, who cooperated with authorities during the investigation, stated that Kohut had spoke of past relationships with mothers and their children.
‘He had told her he was molested as a young child by his nanny and her two daughters and he believed it to be a beautiful experience,’ Freitas stated in court.
Kohut, 58, was charged with 48 felonies, while Stephens and Brandon were charged with 45 and 44 respectively. He is seen at a court hearing in October 2018
That blackmail of Stephens sexually abusing children was used by Kohut to make sure she did not tell his wife and to get alone time with her children (above in text exchange on right)
‘Mr. Kohut wanted Ms. Stephens to move to Santa Cruz and move in with Ms. Brandon.’
This was detailed in court papers opposing a bail reduction for Kohut.
‘Because defendant has a 20 year history, new victims have been found since the initial filing. After the initial filing, G. R. has come forward,’ read the court filing.
‘In 2004, Grace R. was only 13 years old and grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Her mother started an online relationship with defendant.
‘Defendant flew her and her mother to Santa Cruz for five days. They stayed at the Chaminade hotel.
‘One night defendant, her mother, and G. R. were all on the same bed. G.R.’s mother passed out on the bed, and defendant then sexually molested G.R.. ‘
FBI supervising agent Chris Marceau also testified to some of the depraved acts Brandon had been seen performing on videos as well in his testimony.
These included groping a boy, orally copulating a boy and having sex with him while the child was on his back and orally copulating a minor female.
The preliminary hearing will continue on Thursday, and all three defendants remains in the Santa Cruz County Jail.