Phoenix Police Arrested Hacienda HealthCare Nurse Nathan Sutherland in Rape of Patient
A nurse from Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix was arrested on charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman whom he cared for at the nursing facility. The woman, who is “incapacitated,” gave birth to a boy on Dec. 29.
Nathan Sutherland, 36, was arrested Tuesday after the Phoenix Police crime lab matched a DNA sample from Sutherland to the baby, according to The Arizona Republic. Police had taken DNA samples from every male worker at the facility. Sutherland was charged with one count sexual assault and one count of abuse of a vulnerable adult.
The birth alerted the staff, who said they were not aware she was pregnant, and the police of the rape. The 29-year-old woman has been a patient at the facility for 26 years, according to the family’s lawyer, John Micheaels. Contrary to earlier reports, her family said she is not in a coma.
Though her records, obtained by The Arizona Republic, say she is not alert, Micheaels said she is able to make some movements and respond to noises with facial expressions. Court records have described her as “incapacitated” and “unable to make any decisions or give consent due to her disability.” The family’s lawyer said her condition was the result of seizures in early childhood.
“She has feelings and is capable of responding to people she is familiar with, especially family,” Micheaels told The Arizona Republic on Friday.
In the aftermath of the incident, the CEO of Hacienda HealthCare has resigned as well as one of the physicians responsible for the woman’s care. Her other doctor was suspended. The state has also suspended the facility from admitting new patients.
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