A neurosurgeon in California, America, has been found guilty of sexually abusing children. The doctor, James Kohut is believed to have plotted, since 1997, to impregnate women to give birth to children he could then sexually abuse in a “taboo family” lifestyle.

The brain surgeon was also charged for committing oral copulation, sexual penetration and sodomy against children, between January 2016 and May 2017, alongside two nurses, Emily Stephens and Rashel Brandon.

The case came to light when Brandon’s husband handed over a video to the police that showed his wife and Stephens sexually abusing children. Once brought in, Brandon implicated Kohut and he was arrested four days later, on 14 May 2017. Police Captain George Zamora, described the tape as “disgusting and disturbing”.

Kohut worked with and had affairs with both nurses. Brandon’s lawyer, Anthony Robinson, said she was a victim of Kohut’s – as he “basically masterminded this thing” – whilst she was going through a difficult divorce. The children victims have been placed in protective custody.

A dark and messy past

Prosecutors also found that for two decades, Kohut pursued women from Ohio, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada and Australia in the hopes of having sex with their children.

Kohut allegedly admitted to one woman that he had previously been in a relationship with a woman who was the mother of two children, a 13-year-old and a four-year-old. A court document stated that Kohut had further confessed to the woman that he had had sex in front of the children and fondled the teenager.

Another woman from Australia provided evidence, telling the court that Kohut had asked her if he could get her pregnant. If the child was a daughter, he said, he would impregnate her when she was ten and raise that child “sexually”, too. He is also allegedly admitted to have asked women to volunteer at homeless shelters or take up babysitting jobs so as to find young victims.

Another defendant, a woman from Ohio, dated Kohut and told the court how she complained to the police in 2005 after he sent her links to child pornography and told her he had had sex with a nine-year old girl and her mother. Although he has been investigated by different police agencies since 1997, this is the first time he has been charged.

Kohut however, who has a wife and two children, has pleaded not guilty to 11 felony charges. Prosecutors say that since his arrest, many more victims have come forward. The disgraced doctor was arrested soon after starting a new job at Fort Smith hospital in the state of Arkansas. He has now lost this job.

Shamed doctor will most likely never practice again

On 26 June 2017, the judge ruled that Kohut was entitled to bail despite Moore requesting that he remain jailed and held without bail. Moore wrote in a court document that, “no bail is appropriate based on the heinous nature of the crimes, the amount of punishment he faces, his significant wealth, and the potential danger to other children.”

Additionally, Kohut has been deemed a suicide risk and flight risk, having recently moved states. He is currently being held in the medical wing and has been on a hunger strike since his arrest.

The judge has since set his bail for USD6.45 million, although prosecutors requested it be set at USD40 million since he is a public risk to both women and children. Many protestors gathered at the entrance to the courthouse chanting, “keep kids safe" and "jail not bail".

His lawyer, Jay Rorty, however argued that there was no physical evidence of the doctor’s crimes. Brandon’s bail has been set at USD500,000 and she has been ordered not to work as a nurse if she is granted it.

If Kohut does post bail then he will be “electronically monitored”. He will be placed under house arrest with limited internet access and constant GPS monitoring. He will also be required to maintain a safe distance from the case’s witnesses and victims.

The 57-year old doctor’s medical licenses in the states of Alabama and Arkansas have been suspended whilst he himself has surrendered his California license.

If convicted, he and Brandon will face a minimum of 165 years of jail. Since Stephens was arrested in Arizona, authorities are seeking a court-ordered transfer to California; so that she, too, can face similar charges. MIMS

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