Former Male Nurse Receives ‘Slap On The Wrist’ Plea Deal In Rape of Incapacitated Patient Who Had His Child

A former male nurse in Arizona has been sentenced in a case where he raped an incapacitated patient who got pregnant and later gave birth to his child.

According to ABC 10, the former male nurse, Nathan Sutherland, who was terminated after being arrested for the incident, is being held in jail on a $500,000 cash bond after Phoenix police arrested him back in January 2019 for the sexual assault of an incapacitated patient of Hacienda HealthCare.

According to AZ Central, Jennifer Liewer, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office,  announced last week that the sentencing range for the sexual assault charge that Sutherland pleaded out to is between 5.25 to 10 years in prison. The abuse of a vulnerable adult charge brings a lifetime of probation. Sentencing is scheduled for Nov. 4.

The pregnancy was discovered back in December 2018 when a Hacienda HealthCare employee at the facility in Phoenix was changing the garments of the victim, who was 29 at the time, and noticed the patient was giving birth to the child. Employees had spoken to the police and told them that they had no idea the woman was pregnant.

Police have said Sutherland’s DNA matched a sample taken from the woman’s son. The victim’s mother is the boy’s guardian.

AZ Family reported that someone who worked at the facility at the time of the rape said that people who work at Hacienda are “furious” at the sentencing.

“This man did a heinous crime and he’s getting a slap on the wrist and it’s not right and everyone I talked to that worked at Hacienda, they’re furious. None of us can believe that’s all he’s going to get is a slap on the wrist,” said Davena Ballard, who was a nurse at a Hacienda-affiliated program.

Hacienda HealthCare CEO Perry Petrilli released a written statement last week on Thursday expressing relief for the guilty plea.

“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 — 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.”

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