Seven children in protective custody in sexual assault case - | WBTV Charlotte

BREAKING

Seven children in protective custody in sexual assault case

Emily Joy Stephens (Source: Pima County Sheriff's Department) Emily Joy Stephens (Source: Pima County Sheriff's Department)
James Kohut (Source: Watsonville Police Department) James Kohut (Source: Watsonville Police Department)
Rashel Brandon  (Source: Watsonville Police Department) Rashel Brandon (Source: Watsonville Police Department)
(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Police say seven children are in protective custody as authorities continue to investigate a disturbing case of sexual assault involving three adult suspects.

According to a release from the Watsonville, CA, Police Department, 29-year-old Emily Stephens of Tucson is one of the suspects. Police say she works as a nurse.

The other suspects are 57-year-old James Kohut and 42-year-old Rashel Brandon, a Watsonville nurse. 

Kohut is a traveling doctor with homes in Tucson, two California cities and Arkansas.

Police say the seven alleged victims range in age from 3 to 13.

CRIME TEAM COVERAGE: The KOLD News 13 mugshots of the month.

Tucson News Now has learned the investigation started with the discovery of a video on a digital camera. Police in Watsonville were alerted to a video allegedly involving Rashel Brandon and a minor performing sexual acts, according to court records.

The warrant for Stephens' arrest states that another video was discovered with Brandon, Stephens and three minors performing sex acts. Brandon was arrested in Watsonville with the warrant issued for Stephens coming from Pima County.

Brandon told detectives that she and Stephens were part of a love triangle with Kohut, according to the arrest warrant. She said Stephens is blackmailing Kohut. Brandon added that Kohut asked her to help blackmail Stephens, so Brandon came up with the idea of the video of Stephens performing sex acts with minors.

Three pages with pictures of the acts were found at Brandon's home, according to the warrant. It stated that the words "James Kohut made me do this" were written on the paper.

Electronics, DVDs and a couple hand-written letters were seized from Stephens' home in Pima County, according to the search warrant. It states someone close to Stephens claimed Brandon had been texting Stephens and threatening that she would call the police on her.

Stephens was arrested on Friday, May 12, according to court records.

She's still in the Pima County jail.

According to Watsonville police, she and Brandon are both charged with lewd and lascivious acts, with force, with a child under 14; sending harmful matter with intent to seduce a minor; specific sex acts with a child under 10 years old; specific sex acts with a child under 14 years old; and specific sex acts with force with a child under 14 years old.

Kohut was charged with lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 years old; lewd and lascivious acts, with force, with a child under 14; specific sex acts with a child under the age of 10 years old, according to police in Watsonville.

Kohut's attorney maintains his innocence. 

“Dr. Kohut has spent his life saving people’s lives. He is a renowned brain surgeon. This is not conduct he would participate in and I think in the end of the day the evidence will show this is not true,” said Nick Cvietkovich.

Police believe there are no other suspects associated with this case.

The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information about this case should contact the Watsonville Police Department at (831) 768-3355.

The anonymous crime tip line for WPD is (831) 768-3544.

MOBILE USERS: Download our Tucson News Now app for Apple and Android devices.

Copyright 2017 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly