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Dozens of new charges filed against Santa Cruz brain surgeon, nurses in child sex abuse case

New video evidence emerges in Santa...

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - UPDATE: 9/21/2017 4:14 p.m.: Unlike the first video made in a Scotts Valley hotel, the newly emerged clip includes former brain surgeon James Kohut.

For 25 minutes, a GoPro camera captured him and two nurses allegedly kidnapping and raping children as young as 3 years old.

The clip and a cellphone video led to dozens more charges against Kohut.

The Santa Cruz district attorney says Kohut tried to raise “taboo families” for nearly 20 years, meeting women to have sex with their children.

"Based on new evidence, we filed a new case against Mr. Kohut, with 32 different charges that was made in Watsonville," Deputy DA Steven Moore said.

Nurses Rashel Brandon and Emily Stephens also appeared in the cellphone video, allegedly assaulting children.

In addition, Kohut is charged with sex crimes in Tuolumne County, Louisiana and an attempted lewd act on a young victim, not previously mentioned.

Charges against the nurses went from eight each to 44 for Brandon and 43 for Stephens.

They're also facing other charges involving their behavior.

"If you are sponsoring and helping knowing someone is trying to do a crime, and you are actively trying to get them to do it, you can be held responsible for the acts of the other person," Moore said.

They pleaded not guilty to all charges on Thursday.

Based on these charges, the judge increased the bail amount to $15 million for each defendant.

Kohut, Brandon and Stephens will be back in court March 12 for their preliminary hearings.

PREVIOUS STORY: New video evidence is playing a major role in the high profile Santa Cruz child sex abuse case.

On Wednesday, the Santa Cruz County District Attorney’s Office announced more charges will be filed against former brain surgeon James Kohut, nurse Rashel Brandon and traveling nurse Emily Stephens.

The three appeared in court together for the first time for a quick hearing, but the investigation is far from over.

"There was a new video that we discovered, and we're going to be filing new charges," Deputy District Attorney Stephen Moore said.

The video, with graphic content, was made 10 days before the one police already have, Moore said.

Brandon’s brother told KION his sister informed investigators of the video but they couldn’t find it. So when he saw a recorder that fit the description, he turned it over to the FBI.

“We just received this discovery (and) trying to figure out what’s going on. There’s a whole lot of information,” said Brandon’s lawyer Anthony Robinson.

The first video in police custody was made in a Scotts Valley hotel, where Brandon and Stephens allegedly molested children as young as 3 years old.

Kohut faces 11 felony charges, Brandon and Stephens each face eight.

All defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors are expected to release details of the video and additional charges against all three on Thursday.


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