Man enters plea in rape of incapacitated woman

Posted at 11:01 AM, Feb 05, 2019

PHOENIX (AP) —  A nurse accused of raping an incapacitated woman who later gave birth at a long-term care facility in Phoenix has pleaded not guilty to a sexual assault charge.

The hearing for Nathan Sutherland Tuesday only lasted a few minutes, with him identifying himself and stating his date of birth.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult.

Authorities say Sutherland raped the 29-year-old victim at the Hacienda HealthCare facility.

Hacienda workers said they didn’t know the woman was pregnant.

Investigators say Sutherland’s DNA matched a sample from the woman’s newborn, though Sutherland’s attorney says there’s no direct evidence linking Sutherland to the crime.

Sutherland is charged with sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult.

He has since given up his nursing license.

The Dec. 29 birth triggered reviews by state agencies, highlighted safety concerns for patients who are severely disabled or incapacitated and prompted the resignations of Hacienda’s chief executive and one of the victim’s doctors.