Arizona Nurse Accused of Raping Incapacitated Patient Formally Indicted

Photo: Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office via AP

Former Hacienda Healthcare nurse Nathan Sutherland has been formally indicted after he was accused of raping and impregnating an incapacitated patient under his care.

According to AZ Central, on Tuesday, Sutherland was charged with sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult in connection with the case of an incapacitated woman at the Arizona health care facility unexpectedly giving birth on Dec. 29. No one had noted she was pregnant, and she had not been in a state to consent to sexual activities in her condition.

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Sutherland was arrested after a court-ordered DNA test revealed that his DNA matched that of the woman’s baby. The woman had been under Sutherland’s care in the months preceding the birth. He was fired from the facility as his involvement in the case became clear.

Per a previous CNN report, the family wanted to emphasize that the victim was not in a coma and had some level of cognizance, if limited:

“She has feelings, likes to be read to, enjoys soft music and is capable of responding to people she is familiar with, especially family,” the parents said.

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Sutherland’s lawyer previously denied that the DNA test is sufficient evidence, saying that there was no “direct proof” that Sutherland was involved and that he’d “have a right to his own DNA expert.”

Sutherland is being held on $500,000 bail, per AZCentral. His arraignment is scheduled for Tuesday.

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Natalie Degraffinried

Natalie Degraffinried is a staff editor for Kotaku.