A worker at a long-term care facility where a woman who had been in a vegetative state for 14 years unexpectedly gave birth has been arrested and charged with sexual assault.
The woman, who is in her 20s and had been a long-term patient at the Hacienda Healthcare centre after suffering an injury, went into labour on the afternoon of 29 December, police in Arizona said. The child was delivered alive and healthy.
Phoenix police spokesman Sergeant Tommy Thompson identified the suspect as Nathan Sutherland, 36, who he said had worked at the facility since 2011.
“This was an employee, rather than a stranger who made his way into the facility,” Thompson told a news conference. “We have no indication that there were other people involved, but again, this is an ongoing investigation.”
The victim has been in the facility since 1992 when she was 3-years-old, according to local media.
He Fooled EveryOne – Mother Of Another Patient Says
The mother of a patient at a long-term care facility where an incapacitated woman gave birth could hardly believe that a 36-year-old nurse who helped care for her son was the suspect arrested this week.
“He was very loving, very compassionate. Or he pretended to be. And I really trusted him,” Angela Gomez said of the suspect, Nathan Sutherland.
She said never in her “wildest dreams” did she think Sutherland would be the suspect authorities were looking for.
“I suspected others, but I was wrong, and he fooled everybody,” Gomez said, CBS affiliate KPHO-TV reported.
Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse, worked at the Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix from 2011 until his arrest on Tuesday, CBS News’ Carter Evans reported. He was charged with sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse in a case involving a 29-year-old incapacitated woman who had been at the facility since she was 3 years old.
She gave birth to a baby boy in December.
Phoenix police arrest nurse in case of incapacitated woman who gave birth.
Police have made an arrest in the sexual assault of a patient at a Phoenix long-term healthcare facility.
Police were first alerted when a staff member called 911 saying “one of our patients had a baby and we had no idea she was pregnant.”
Ultimately, investigators obtained DNA samples from male employees at the facility, Including Sutherland. Results showed he was a match to the baby.
Defense attorney David Gregan described Sutherland as a family man and said there no “direct evidence” that he “committed these acts.”
“I know at this point there’s DNA. But he will have a right to his own DNA expert,” Gregan said.
Hacienda sent a letter to patients’ families following the incident saying patients are entitled to free STD and pregnancy tests. Gomez, whose 27-year-old son was cared for by Sutherland at times, went to the facility Wednesday to get her son tested.
She said Sutherland worked the night shift and that she wasn’t sure about the extent of contact he had with her son, KPHO-TV reported.
“He’s afraid. Not all the time but every once in a while, and he’s expressed that,” Gomez said about her son. “We’ve asked him why and he’s said he’s afraid of the monster, is what he says. And I’ve said, ‘What’s the monster’s name?’ but my son never says the name of the person he’s afraid of.”
Gomez is concerned there may be other victims at the facility.
This photo provided by Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office shows Nathan Sutherland. Phoenix police say Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse, has been arrested on a charge of sexual assault of an incapacitated woman who gave birth last month at a long-term health care facility. Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, that investigators arrested Sutherland on one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse.
Karina Cesena, another parent, moved her daughter from the Hacienda facility after she found out about the woman who gave birth. She said nothing about Sutherland’s demeanor stood out.
Hacienda HealthCare said in a statement Wednesday that Sutherland underwent “an extensive background check” when he was hired.