Nurse arrested for impregnating patient at longterm care facility

Jan. 23 (UPI) — Police in Arizona said Wednesday they arrested a nurse at a longterm care facility in connection to a sexual assault of a patient who gave birth late last year.

Nathan Sutherland, a 36-year-old licensed practical nurse at Hacienda Healthcare in Phoenix, faces one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse in connection to the sexual assault of the 29-year-old patient, Arizona’s ABC 15 reported.

Court paperwork released Wednesday stated that Sutherland “worked around the victim and treated her on numerous occasions and thus had direct access to her for an extended period of time.”

On Tuesday, Sutherland met with police who took DNA samples from him, which provided a match with the woman’s baby.

During a court appearance Wednesday, a judge set Sutherland’s bail at $500,000, adding if the cash bond is posted, he will be placed on house arrest with an ankle monitor.

The victim’s family issued a statement after Sutherland’s court appearance, saying they were aware of his arrest while providing no further comment.

Sutherland’s lawyers said he has lived in Arizona since 1993 and had no prior arrests, AZFamily.com reported. They added there was no evidence connecting him to the case outside of the DNA. His counsel requested their own DNA test.

Hacienda Healthcare issued a statement following Sutherland’s arrest, saying he was fired “the moment our leadership team learned of his arrest” and that it has increased security measures to ensure the safety of its patients.

“We will do everything in our power to ensure justice in this case,” the facility said.

The victim gave birth to a boy on Dec. 29 and Hacienda Healthcare and workers said they weren’t aware she was pregnant until the birth.

Both the victim and the child were taken to Maricopa Medical Center for treatment.

On Tuesday, the woman’s family clarified she was not in a coma, but suffers “significant intellectual disabilities” after childhood seizures.

She had been at the facility since 2002 after a near drowning incident and her family said she is able to move parts of her body, make facial gestures and respond to sound.

Sutherland is set to appear in court again on Jan. 30.

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