Phoenix nurse arrested for raping woman in coma
36-year old Nathan Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse who had been assigned to care for a woman in a coma, has been charged with raping her after she was found pregnant and later gave birth.
The New York Times reports that Phoenix Police Department Jeri L. Williams said, “Through a combination of good old-fashioned police work, combing through evidence, talking to people and following up on information, combined with the marvels of DNA technology, we were able to identify and develop probable cause to arrest a suspect.”
Detectives questioned individuals who were assigned to care for the woman at Hacienda HealthCare around the time they suspected she was raped. The woman has been in a coma at the nursing home since 1992. She gave birth to a newborn baby on Dec. 29th.
The police took a DNA sample from Sutherland on Tuesday, which matched the baby. Sutherland was arrested and booked at Maricopa County Jail on Wednesday.
The initial news of the rape alarmed many throughout Phoenix as Hacienda HealthCare is a significant healthcare provider for disabled people.
In a statement, the company writes, “Every member of the Hacienda organization is troubled beyond words to think that a licensed practical nurse could be capable of seriously harming a patient. Once again, we offer an apology and send our deepest sympathies to the client and her family, to the community and to our agency partners at every level.”
The company also stated that Rick Romely, one of Maricopa County’s major prosecutors, will lead an internal investigation of the incident. Since then, Hacienda’s chief executive resigned over the backlash and police investigations.