Nursing Home Rape Charges Filed After Woman in Vegetative State is Impregnated

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An Arizona nurse has been arrested on charges of raping and impregnating a woman who was in a vegetative state at the nursing home where he worked. 

The Phoenix Police announced the arrest of Nathan Sutherland, 36, in a video posted to Facebook, after DNA testing revealed he is the father of a child born on December 29, to a woman in the Hacienda Healthcare Skilled Nursing Facility.

The woman is in her 20s, has been in a vegetative state at the nursing home, and could not have consented to sex with Sutherland. Staff indicate that they were unaware that she was pregnant, and were surprised by the birth of the boy on December 29.

Sutherland is a licensed practical nurse, who has worked at the nursing home since 2012. He faces charges of sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult. He is currently being held in lieu of $500,000 bail after being arraigned in Maricopa County Superior Court.

The case has garnered national attention after it became obvious that the patient was subjected to nursing home sexual abuse while she was supposed to be safe and cared for at the facility. The incident resulted in the resignation of Bill Timmons, the chief executive officer of Hacienda HealthCare, which manages the facility. He had held the post for 28 years.

To find the alleged rapist, Phoenix Police detectives acquired search warrants to develop a list of employees who had worked at the facility and could have had contact with the victim during the time that she would have become pregnant. They then called the individuals in for DNA testing.

Sutherland’s tests showed that he was the child’s father, according to police and prosecutors. Sutherland, however, maintains his innocence, and his attorneys say they plan to have their own testing conducted to prove that he is not the child’s parent.

Phoenix Police say the newborn is healthy and being cared for by the woman’s family.

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