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Arizona nurse Nathan Sutherland arrested for rape of incapacitated woman who had baby at long-term care facility

  • Police say Nathan Sutherland, 36, was identified by DNA as the father of a boy born to the 29-year-old victim, who lived at a Hacienda Healthcare facility

A nurse who was looking after an incapacitated woman at a long-term health care facility has been charged with raping her, weeks after she stunned her caregivers and family who didn’t know she was pregnant by giving birth to a baby boy, Phoenix police said on Wednesday.

Arizona investigators arrested 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse, on preliminary charges of sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said.

Police spokesman Tommy Thompson said that Sutherland was charged after his DNA was found to match the baby’s.

Sutherland declined to speak with police and invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, Thompson said. A message left at a telephone number listed for Sutherland was not immediately returned.

The 29-year-old victim has been in long-term care since the age of three and gave birth at the facility on December 29. Employees said they had no idea she was pregnant. As her guardian, the woman’s mother was required to submit an annual report to the court that included results of a medical examination.

The case has prompted the departure or discipline of officials at Hacienda HealthCare, including CEO Bill Timmons, who resigned. The company announced on Sunday that one doctor who had cared for the woman resigned and another had been suspended.

Earlier stories had described the patient as being comatose or in a vegetative state. But her parents released a statement on Tuesday disputing those characterisations.

They described her instead as intellectually disabled because of seizures in early childhood. While she doesn’t speak, she has some mobility in her limbs, head and neck. She also responds to sound and can make facial gestures.

Source : scmp