Tim Fitzsimmons, NBC News, September 2, 2021
A former nurse in Arizona pleaded guilty Thursday to two felony charges for abusing and sexually assaulting an incapacitated woman who later gave birth, according to the Maricopa County attorney.
The man, Nathan Sutherland, was arrested and charged in January 2019 after DNA evidence tied him to a child delivered by a 29-year-old incapacitated woman who was living at Hacienda Healthcare in Phoenix. She had lived at the inpatient facility since age 3 after suffering brain damage and entering a permanent vegetative state.
Jennifer Liewer, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, said Sutherland faces five to 10 years in prison for the sexual assault charge and lifetime probation for the vulnerable adult abuse charge.
The state of Arizona, Hacienda Healthcare and others settled for millions of dollars in lawsuits filed by the woman’s family.