- Associated Press - Thursday, September 7, 2017

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) - Prosecutors say additional video footage has been discovered in the case of a brain surgeon and two nurses in jail awaiting trial on charges of operating a child-sex ring.

The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported (https://bit.ly/2f7jAsI ) Thursday that a prosecutor told a judge the case is expanding.

Prosecutor Steven Moore declined to release the new video or discuss the new developments outside court Wednesday.

Dr. James Kohut, Rashel Brandon and Emily Stephens are each charged with sexually assaulting multiple children. Police took seven children, ages 3 to 13, into protective custody.

Moore said Kohut, 57, sought to create “taboo families” by impregnating women who would later have sex with their offspring.

Moore said there is no evidence that Kohut, who worked as a pediatric brain surgeon at a Santa Cruz hospital, succeeded in creating those families. Moore also said there is no evidence Kohut abused patients.

Kohut is accused of recruiting the two nurses to sexually abuse children.

Court records show the case started when Brandon’s husband gave police a video of his wife and Stephens abusing children. Investigators said Brandon, 43, implicated Kohut.

Kohut’s attorney, Jay Rorty, says his client denies the charges.

Brandon’s attorney says she suffered severe abuse in her marriage, was emotionally vulnerable and was exploited by Kohut.

Stephens’ attorney, Brian Worthington, did not immediately return a telephone call Thursday. Stephens, 30, was a traveling nurse who was arrested in her Tucson, Arizona, home earlier this year.


Information from: Santa Cruz Sentinel, https://www.santacruzsentinel.com

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