January 23, 2019 11:41 am
Updated: January 23, 2019 4:14 pm

Phoenix police arrest male nurse after incapacitated woman gives birth

WATCH ABOVE: Police have made an arrest in the rape of woman who was severely incapacitated at a longterm health facility in Phoenix, Ariz. 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland had his bail set at $500,000.

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Police in Phoenix, Ariz., have arrested a licensed practical nurse in connection with an alleged sexual assault at a care facility, where a woman in a long-term incapacitated state gave birth in December.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said Wednesday that investigators arrested 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland on one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse.

The 29-year-old victim had been at the Hacienda HealthCare facility since a near-drowning in 1992. She gave birth to a boy on Dec. 29, surprising staff who did not know she was pregnant.

WATCH: Court sets bond of $500,000 for nurse charged in assault case of incapacitated woman 

READ MORE: One doctor suspended, another resigns at facility where woman in vegetative state gave birth

Williams says Sutherland worked at the Hacienda HealthCare facility where the woman lived and had been providing care to her.

Police identified Sutherland as a suspect on Tuesday, after collecting DNA samples from Hacienda’s male staffers.

WATCH: Police in Arizona announced Wednesday the arrest of a suspect in the case of an incapacitated woman who gave birth at a care home

Nathan Sutherland, 36, is shown in this photo provided by the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office in Phoenix, Arizona.

Maricopa County Sheriff's Office via AP

“One of the samples obtained through a court order was from 36-year-old Nathaniel Sutherland,” Sgt. Tommy Thompson said at a news conference in Phoenix on Wednesday. “Sutherland was a licensed practical nurse, or an LPN, who was responsible for providing care to the victim during the time this sexual assault occurred.”

WATCH BELOW: Staff at Hacienda HealthCare report a surprise birth to 911


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The victim’s family has said she was not comatose or in a vegetative state, as was originally reported. The family’s attorney recently told a CBS affiliate in Arizona that her condition was a result of seizures she had in early childhood.

“She has feelings, likes to be read to, enjoys soft music, and is capable of responding to people she is familiar with, especially family,” Michael A. Worhacz, the family’s attorney, told Arizona’s Family in a statement.

Court records say her last known physical was in April, The Associated Press reports.

WATCH BELOW: Family of other patients concerned after patient gives birth at Hacienda HealthCare

One physician was suspended and another resigned at the facility earlier this week.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to reflect that the patient was incapacitated, not in a vegetative state.

— With files from The Associated Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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