Nathan Sutherland, age 36, a licensed practical nurse, has been arrested after a sample of his DNA matched an incapacitated woman’s baby. This woman, age 29, has been in a vegetative state since the age of 3 and suddenly gave birth to a baby boy last month at a long-term nursing home facility.
According to court records, Sutherland was charged with sexually assaulting this woman and is looking at one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse. Sutherland was one of the caregivers for the woman at the Hacienda Healthcare facility. After reports of this unsettling incident, authorities received a court order to obtain DNA samples from all male staff members at the Hacienda Healthcare facility. After it was found that Sutherland’s DNA matched the baby, Sutherland was charged with the two counts. He then refused to speak with law enforcement. The Healthcare facility has since fired Sutherland and has issued an official statement apologizing for what happened by saying, “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.”
After his appearance in court late January, Sutherland was given a $500,000 cash-only bond by a Maricopa County Superior Court commissioner. If Sutherland happens to post his cash-only bond, he would be required to wear an electronic tracking device. David Gregan, Sutherland’s lawyer, requested a lower bond for his client based on Sutherland being a family man with young children and no criminal record. However, according to court records, Sutherland’s wife filed for divorce a few weeks ago. Sutherland’s neighbor recalls seeing him and his family going to church every Sunday and can’t believe he would do this. Regardless of the type of man Sutherland is, a probable cause statement points all evidence to him sexually assaulting the incapacitated woman.
During the investigations, it was found that Sutherland spent a great deal of time with the woman and that he sexually assaulted her sometime between February 2018 and April 2018.
As of right now, there is no direct evidence proving that Sutherland was the perpetrator. While there is DNA evidence that matches the baby, Sutherland still has a right to his own DNA testing.
In light of what happened at Hacienda Healthcare, state agencies have reviewed safety concerns for patients who can’t defend themselves. There have also been disciplinary actions and resignations of multiple managers and staff members, including the CEO.
Patients at healthcare facilities and residents at nursing homes may be severely disabled and may not able to protect themselves from situations such as sexual abuse. The crimes committed by Sutherland should be a warning to all families who have loved ones staying at similar facilities. It is essential for families to look for signs of sexual abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse, and even financial abuse. Nursing home abuse happens too often, so don’t let it happen to your loved one.
If you suspect your loved one to be a victim of nursing home abuse, contact KBA Attorneys to receive a free case evaluation and learn how you can fight for justice.
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