Nurse charge with rape weeks after Arizona patient in vegetative state had baby


Nurse charge with rape weeks after Arizona patient in vegetative state had baby
Nathan Sutherland, a licensed sensible nurse, has been arrested and charged with one rely of sexual assault and one rely of susceptible grownup abuse, in accordance with courtroom data. (Photo by way of Reuters)

A nurse who was speculated to be trying after an incapacitated girl at a long-term well being care facility was charged Wednesday with raping her, weeks after she surprised her caregivers and household by giving birth to a baby boy.

Nathan Sutherland, a licensed sensible nurse, has been arrested and charged with one rely of sexual assault and one rely of susceptible grownup abuse, in accordance with courtroom data.

“We owed this arrest to the victim. We owed this arrest to the newest member of our community _ that innocent baby,” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams mentioned.

The shock delivery late final month triggered critiques by state businesses, highlighted security issues for sufferers who’re severely disabled or incapacitated and led to disciplinary actions and resignations of staffers and managers. It additionally prompted authorities to check the DNA of all the boys who labored on the Hacienda HealthCare facility.

Sutherland, 36, submitted his DNA pattern below courtroom order Tuesday and the outcomes got here again just a few hours later, exhibiting he was a match to the baby. He declined to talk with police and invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, police spokesman Tommy Thompson mentioned.

Sutherland appeared in courtroom Wednesday however didn’t enter a plea. A Maricopa County Superior Court commissioner set a $500,000 cash-only bond. If Sutherland posts bond, he would wish to put on an digital monitoring gadget.

Defense legal professional David Gregan had requested for a decrease bond on the grounds that Sutherland didn’t have a legal document. He described his shopper as a household man with younger youngsters who has lived in Arizona since 1993.

“There’s no direct evidence that Mr Sutherland has committed these acts,” Gregan mentioned. “I know at this point there’s DNA. But he will have a right to his own DNA expert.”

Gregan didn’t instantly return a message searching for remark.

Investigators discovered that Sutherland had handled the sufferer and spent a whole lot of time with her, in accordance with a possible trigger assertion. Investigators consider Sutherland raped the patient someday between February and April.

A former neighbour, Esella Burr, mentioned she lived subsequent to Sutherland, his spouse and 4 youngsters for greater than 5 years. She usually noticed the couple go away for church on Sundays and they might chat often.

“I can’t believe it,” Burr mentioned. “He told me he was a nurse and he liked his job.”

Court data point out his spouse filed for divorce seven weeks in the past. A message left at a quantity listed for her was not instantly returned.

Hacienda officers fired Sutherland after studying of his arrest. The firm mentioned it was “troubled beyond words.” Sutherland had handed an in depth background verify.

“Once again, we offer an apology and send our deepest sympathies to the client and her family, to the community and to our agency partners at every level,” Hacienda mentioned in a press release.

The 29-year-old sufferer has been in long-term care since age three and gave delivery on the facility on Dec. 29. Employees mentioned they had no thought she was pregnant. As her guardian, the girl’s mom was required to submit an annual report back to the courtroom that included outcomes of a medical examination.

The case has prompted the departure or self-discipline of key figures at Hacienda HealthCare, together with the CEO. The supplier says one physician who had cared for the girl resigned and one other had been suspended.

Earlier tales had described the patient as being comatose or in a vegetative state. But her dad and mom launched a press release Tuesday disputing that characterization.

They described her as intellectually disabled due to seizures in early childhood. While she doesn’t communicate, she has some mobility in her limbs, head and neck. She additionally responds to sound and may make facial gestures.

The household’s legal professional, John Micheaels, mentioned in a press release that they knew concerning the arrest however didn’t need to remark.

Thompson mentioned he believes the baby has since been launched from the hospital. The girl’s household has mentioned they’ll look after him.

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