Nathan Sutherland was a nurse at a Hacienda Healthcare center located in Phoenix, Arizona. One of his charges at the skilled care facility was woman in a persistent vegetative state. The resident was in a vegetative state as the result of a near-drowning accident. The defenseless resident ended up being raped multiple times by Sutherland. The woman ended up pregnant as the result of being sexually assaulted by the nurse.
After the resident was impregnated by the Hacienda Healthcare nurse, other staff members maintain that they were unaware that the woman was in fact with child. According to staff members, they learned the resident was pregnant when she went into labor and gave birth in December 2018.
The baby needed immediate medical attention in the direct aftermath of the birth. As a result, staff members at the skilled care facility called for the assistance of emergency medical personnel. Phoenix law enforcement facilities were also dispatched to the nursing care facility and the scene of the birth.
Law enforcement launched an immediate investigation. As part of the investigation, DNA testing was undertaken on the male staff members at the Hacienda Healthcare skilled care facility. DNA testing identified Nathan Sutherland as the father of the child and the individual responsible for sexually assaulting the resident of the facility.
The baby was admitted to the hospital for appropriate care and treatment. The family of the mother and baby report that the child is in good health. The identity of the mother, child, and family have not been released to the media or public in the interest of protecting their privacy.
Criminal charges ultimately were brought against Sutherland. The former nurse eventually pleaded guilty to charges of sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse. The perpetrator of the repeated sexual assaults on the skilled care facility resident in a vegetative state awaits sentencing as of this time.
The sexual predator faces a prison sentence of between five to 10 years. In addition, he will be subjected to an extended term of parole, which in some cases is set for an offender’s lifetime. He will also be required to register as a sex offender, a mandate that is expected to extend for the remainder of his life.
The President of Hacienda Healthcare, Perry Petrilli, issued a statement after Sutherland pleaded guilty to the abuse and sex crime charges:
After more than two-and-a-half years, all of us at Hacienda Healthcare are relieved that Nathan Sutherland has finally pleaded guilty to his awful offenses.
We have cooperated in every way possible with law enforcement and investigators – and now we hope the judge will sentence Sutherland appropriately given the severity of his crimes.
As ever, our hearts are with the victim and her family. May these final steps in the legal process help them find peace.
If you or a loved one have been the victim of nursing home abuse, including nursing home sexual abuse, the skilled, experienced, caring legal team at The Doan Law Firm is here for you. A nationwide law practice, we can schedule an initial consultation at any one of our 40 offices located across the United States. We can also arrange a virtual case evaluation online as well.
As an aside, in most cases involving nursing home abuse, including nursing home sexual abuse, a family member, friend, or some other individual first becomes aware of the issue. Due to the vulnerable state of most people in nursing homes and skilled care facilities, ultimately action to protect the rights and interests of a victim of nursing home abuse is taken by a family member or other person. Thus, it is important for people to pay attention to the state of a loved one who is a resident of a nursing home or skilled care facility.
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