A former nurse in Arizona pleaded guilty on Thursday to sexually assaulting an incapacitated patient who later gave birth, according to local reports.
Nathan Sutherland, 37, a licensed practical nurse at the Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix, was arrested for sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse after a DNA sample he provided to authorities under court order matched the baby after the woman shockingly gave birth in December of 2018.
His victim, a 29-year-old woman who has been a patient at the facility since a near-drowning accident at the age of 3, has “significant intellectual disabilities” and can’t speak but has some ability to move her limbs, make facial gestures and respond to sounds.
Facility workers first discovered the woman was giving birth while changing her clothes and seeing she was in labor, according to AZ Central.
Sutherland faces five to 10 years in prison.
“After more than 2-1/2 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. … Our hearts are with the victim and her family,” the facility said in a statement to KPNX.
The victim’s family — who was told their daughter would only be cared for by a female doctor — settled a $15 million lawsuit with Hacienda HealthCare, according to AZ Central, and a $7.5 million lawsuit with the state of Arizona, which had a contract with Hacienda to provide services to people with developmental disabilities, AZ Central reports.