Neurosurgeon Accused Of Horrific Child Sex Crimes Found Dead In Cell In Suspected Suicide

James Kohut allegedly told women he'd had affairs with that he wanted to start a "sexual family" full of daughters he could impregnate.

By Gina Tron

A former neurosurgeon who was supposed to go on trial to face horrific child sex crimes charges was found dead in his jail cell over the weekend in a suspected suicide.

James Kohut, 59, was found dead just before breakfast Sunday morning, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports. While previously on suicide watch, he was alone in his cell when he died.

Kohut was arrested in May 2017 along with nurses Emily Stephens and Rashel Brandon on suspicion of running a child sex ring. Kohut, a married father of two, had been having affairs with both women, as well as others, according to authorities. Investigators allegedly received video images of all three participating in the sexual abuse of multiple children, abuse they believe went on for years. In fact, Kohut was accused of sexually abusing children for two decades, according to court records.

The disturbing footage obtained by investigators allegedly showed  Kohut, Brandon and Stephens sexually abusing both a 3-year-old boy and a 10-year-old boy, according to KSBW. Other videos allegedly showed separate children being forced to have sex with one another. Two of the alleged child victims were kids of Brandon and Stephens whom Kohut had fathered.  

Both women were charged with four counts of child sexual abuse, while Kohut was charged with 48 counts.

Dr James Kohut Ap

Kohut allegedly told Brandon and Stephens he wanted to raise “a sexual family,” impregnating them to give him daughters that he also wanted to impregnate, according to court documents obtained by Salinas news outlet KSBW. He was also accused of sexually abusing children of other women he'd had affairs with. He admitted to fondling the 13-year-old child of a Florida woman he was seeing, according to court records, and allegedly told multiple women of his desire to start a “sexual family.”

An autopsy and an investigation to determine exactly how he died is scheduled for this week.

Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Ashley Keehn told the Santa Cruz Sentinel that Kohut was placed on suicide watch early on after being arrested, but had been taken off and had no cellmate at the time of his death.

“There was no indication in the past several months that he would or wanted to harm himself,” Keehn said.

Court documents from 2017 call Kohut “unstable and suicidal.”

The case draws some parallels to the notorious Jeffrey Epstein case, who killed himself while alone in his jail cell despite earlier being placed on suicide watch, resulting in criticism of the corrections facility.

A month after Kohut’s arrest, the state medical board revoked his medical license, according to the Associated Press.

Kohut’s next hearing in the case was scheduled for Thursday. He was facing possible life imprisonment.

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