Local neurosurgeon charged with child sex crimes found dead in jail


SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) — A neurosurgeon who planned on moving to Fort Smith in 2017 has been found dead in his jail cell while awaiting trial on charges that he sexually abused children.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s office says James Kohut was found alone in his cell Sunday morning.

Medical examiners are investigating the cause and manner of death, but authorities say a preliminary autopsy indicates Kohut likely took his own life. Authorities said he did not share a cell with other inmates and was held in a protective housing unit.

Kohut has been held since May 2017 when he and two women were arrested on suspicion of running a child-sex ring. Watsonville police said they received video images implicating all three.

Just days after he accepted a new position with Sparks Regional Medical Center in Fort Smith, Kohut was arrested for the crimes.

The state medical board revoked Kohut’s medical license.

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