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Nurse Arrested For Impregnating Woman In Long-Time Vegetative State

Police have arrested a nurse at the Hacienda Healthcare facility in Phoenix, Arizona, for allegedly raping a woman in a vegetative state.

The woman, 29, gave birth Dec. 29 after staff at the long-term nursing facility called 9-11 upon realizing the woman, who has been incapacitated since she was 3 years old, was pregnant.

Phoenix police announced Wednesday the arrest of Nathan Sutherland, 36, according to Arizona Central. Sutherland, a licensed nurse who was supposed to be responsible for caring for the woman, will be charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse.

“From the minute we first became aware of the crime, we have virtually worked non stop seven days a week to resolve this case,” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said Wednesday in the announcement.

“We owed this arrest of the victim, we owed this arrest of the newest member of our community, that innocent baby,” Williams added.

Police investigating the case obtained search warrants for DNA samples of male employees earlier in January, but Phoenix police Sgt. Tommy Thompson said Wednesday they were unable to collect Sutherland’s data through court order until Tuesday.

The DNA was compared to that of the baby boy’s, and confirmed later that day.

“We can’t always choose how we come into this life, but we can choose as a community how we will love this child, and that’s what we need to do,” Thompson said.

Sutherland has worked at the Hacienda facility since 2011, and police are investigating whether he has assaulted other patients at the facility.

“We may not know how many times this occurred,” Thompson told reporters.

According to court records, the victim is a citizen of the San Carlos Apache Tribe and has been a patient at the facility for 26 years. The records deem the victim “not alert” and say she needs “maximum level of care.”

The arrest comes one day after two other doctors at the facility responsible for caring for the victim reportedly left the center. One resigned, and the other has been suspended, USA Today reported.

Hacienda CEO Bill Timmons also resigned over the incident Jan. 7 amid the investigation.

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