Phoenix Police Arrest Nurse in Hacienda HealthCare Rape Case

(Nathan Sutherland: Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

Phoenix police have arrested the nurse in connection with the rape of a woman in a vegetative state at the Hacienda HealthCare facility in Arizona. 

Nathan Sutherland, 36, is a licensed practical nurse who was primarily responsible for caring for the victim at the time of the assault, according to police. He was arrested after police alleged he raped and impregnated the woman at the center. 

The woman gave birth to a boy Dec. 29. Staff members told a 911 operator that they had not known she was pregnant. 

According to court records, the woman, who is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, has been a patient at Hacienda for 26 years. She is "not alert" and needs a "maximum level of care." 

Hacienda HealthCare officials say Sutherland went through an "extensive background check" when he was hired back in 2011, azcentral reports. 

Sutherland was terminated "the moment our leadership team learned of his arrest," a statement released by the healthcare facility said, "Every member of the Hacienda organization is troubled beyond words to think that a licensed practical nurse could be capable of seriously harming a patient."

A DNA sample taken from Sutherland matched the baby. He was booked into Maricopa County Jail Wednesday, charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse. 

The longtime CEO of Hacienda, William Timmons, resigned Jan. 7.

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