Posted by on May 18, 2017 10:16 pm
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Categories: California

(BANT) – Three suspects, including a Santa Cruz neurosurgeon and a nurse from Watsonville, have been taken into custody on suspicion of sexually abusing children based on an investigation launched after police obtained a
video last week.

The Watsonville Police Department was provided with a video May 9 depicting several adults sexually abusing children as young as 3 years old.

Investigators identified Rashel Brandon, a 42-year-old nurse who worked at Dominican Hospital and lives in Watsonville, as a suspect.

Brandon was arrested several hours later on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with force with a child under 14, sending harmful matter with the intent to seduce a minor, specific sex acts with a child under 10,
specific sex acts with a child under 14 and sexual acts with force with a child under 14.

Emily Stephens, a 29-year-old resident of Tucson, Arizona, was arrested with the assistance of the Pima County Sheriff’s Office last Friday, also on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with force with a child under 14, sending harmful matter with the intent to seduce a minor, specific sex acts with a child under 10, specific sex acts with a child under 14 and sexual acts with force with a child under 14.

Then on Saturday, investigators identified James Kohut, a traveling doctor who is officially listed as a resident of Arkansas but is also associated with addresses in Santa Cruz, Merced County and Tucson, Arizona, as a third suspect.

They executed a search warrant at his home in Santa Cruz and based on evidence they found, Kohut was arrested early Sunday morning on suspicion of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14, lewd and lascivious acts with force with a child under 14 and specific sex acts with a child under 10.

Earlier this week, Santa Cruz County Deputy District Attorney

Steven Moore said the alleged crimes occurred in Santa Cruz County.

Authorities have taken seven children into protective custody, ranging in age from 3 to 13, and they believe they have all the suspects in custody as well, but the case crosses state lines and remains under investigation.

The FBI and the regional Internet Crimes Against Children task force have assisted Watsonville police and the district attorney’s office in the investigation.

Anyone with additional information about the case is asked to contact the Watsonville Police Department’s investigation division at (831) 768-3350 or a tip line at (831) 768-3544.