Arizona nurse arrested for impregnating critically disabled woman

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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Nathan Sutherland appeared in SPECIFIC court today in Phoenix, Arizona for a preliminary hearing. He is charged with raping a patient at the Phoenix Hacienda Healthcare facility where he worked as a licensed practical nurse. The woman, whose impairments prevent her from consenting to sex, gave birth to a healthy baby boy this past December.

WHICH JUDGE, WHICH CHARGES, WHAT POSSIBLE SENTENCE, WHO ELSE MAY HAVE SPOKEN FORMALLY.

According to Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams, Sutherland is currently facing two felony charges, one count each of sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult.

"The charges in this case are very serious. The defendant sexually assaulted a very vulnerable adult who had no capacity to resist, no capacity to cry out," said one prosecutor at Sutherland's initial court appearance.

Neither the staff at the Hacienda Healthcare facility nor the woman's family knew she was pregnant until the day she gave birth. Court documents list the woman, 29, as "unable to make any decisions or give consent due to her disability." She had been in the care of this Hacienda Healthcare facility since age 3. Her parents told the press she has limited movement in her arms, legs, neck, and face but does have "significant intellectual disabilities as a result of seizures very early in her childhood."

As part of the investigation, authorities tested the DNA of all the facility's male employees. According to police spokesperson Tommy Thompson, Sutherland was given a court order to submit to a DNA test last Thursday. He complied, and the results indicated he is the child's biological father.

Sutherland otherwise declined to speak to the police, invoking his right not to do so under the fifth amendment of the United States constitution.

"There's no direct evidence that Mr. Sutherland has committed these acts," said Sutherland's lawyer, David Gregan. "I know at this point there's DNA. But he will have a right to his own DNA expert." Both Gregan and a former neighbor of Sutherland's described him as a good father to his children.

The woman is a member of the San Carlos Apache tribe.

Hacienda Healthcare issued a public apology and suspended one doctor who worked at the facility. Another resigned. William Timmons, their CEO at the time, also resigned.

Sutherland's bail hearing was today. A Maricopa County Superior Court commissioner set bail of US$500,000 cash and ordered he wear a monitoring bracelet if released. His next court appearance is scheduled for January 30.


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