Detectives are trying to determine if other patients at a long-term care facility in Phoenix were sexually assaulted after a nurse who worked there was charged with sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse. Nathan Sutherland, 36, is accused of raping a patient and getting her pregnant.
Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse, worked at Hacienda HealthCare where the woman lived. Now 29, the woman has been severely incapacitated since the age of 3. Other workers at Hacienda HealthCare were shocked when she unexpectedly gave birth last month.
“I was stunned. I was beside myself to think and believe that this could happen to someone who wasn’t able to speak for herself,” said Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams.
Williams said Hacienda staff members were under court order to provide DNA samples. Sutherland submitted his on Tuesday morning. Hours later, there was a confirmed match to the baby.
“The modern DNA technology is really going to be the game changer for us,” Williams said.
The chief said there could be more victims. But finding them may be difficult because many at the facility are unable to communicate.
Sutherland continued working at the facility until his arrest. Hacienda’s CEO has since resigned, along with a doctor. Another was suspended.
The baby boy, now nearly four weeks old, is in the care of relatives who are members of the Apache tribe.
“We can’t always choose how we come into this life, but what we can choose to do as a community is love this child. And that’s what we have the opportunity to do,” said Phoenix Police Sgt. Tommy Thompson.