A nurse from a Phoenix retirement home, who had been entrusted to a woman in a vegetative state, was raped and then gave birth to a child. She was charged with sexual assault Wednesday, police said.
Police officers from the Phoenix Police Department on Tuesday interrogated 36 – year – old nurse Nathan Sutherland to question him in the case, and took a sample from him. DNA corresponding to that of the child, a boy born on December 12. 29. Sutherland was arrested on Wednesday morning at Maricopa County Jail on a charge of sexual assault and a charge of violence against vulnerable adults, police said.
"Thanks to a combination of good old-fashioned police work, search for evidence, conversation and follow-up information, coupled with the wonders of DNA technology, we were able to identify and develop a probable cause of arrest of a suspect, "Jeri L Williams, the head of the police department, said at a press conference Wednesday.
The detectives began to focus on Mr. Sutherland as he was part of the medical staff at the retirement home, Hacienda HealthCare, which was responsible for taking care of the woman at about the same time the police believe that she was assaulted. The woman was in the retirement home since 1992 and since then she was in the same state, unable to communicate or move, according to medical records. A family lawyer said Wednesday that they were aware of the arrest but had no comment.
Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse, had been working at Hacienda since 2011 and was still working there Tuesday, police said. He was fired shortly after his arrest, the company said Wednesday.
For nearly a month, the details of the case had seized the Phoenix area and had involved Hacienda HealthCare, a leading health care provider for the severely disabled in the state, outrageous while the chief Williams made this issue the main concern of the department. The fallout has been immense in Hacienda, forcing the long-time director of the company to resignand has been the subject of many investigations.
"Every member of the Hacienda organization is troubled beyond words to think that a licensed practical nurse may be able to seriously harm a patient," company officials said in a statement. "Once again, we apologize and extend our deepest condolences to the client and her family, to the community and partners of our agency at all levels."
Mr. Sutherland had "undergone a thorough background check when hiring," the company said. The company recently announced that it had hired Rick Romley, the long-time former Maricopa County attorney, to conduct an internal review of the assault and how it might have gone unnoticed. .
Since its inception in the late 1970s, Hacienda HealthCare has become one of the largest private care providers in Arizona for people with severe cognitive and physical disabilities, mostly operating from a single campus to approximately six miles south of downtown Phoenix. According to the company, the company manages more than 40 programs through its subsidiaries, which serve more than 2,000 people a year.
Although Hacienda is a private company, some of its activities receive public funding, including $ 230 million in funding since 2010, according to state archives.
As part of investigations, detectives started taking DNA samples of all male employees at Hacienda earlier this month. Sgt. Tommy Thompson, a Phoenix police spokesman, said Sutherland had offered a DNA sample only after he received a court order, and that he had invoked his right under the Fifth amendment to avoid self-incrimination when arrested.
Sutherland's DNA sample, taken on Tuesday, was "verified, double-checked, verified three times, checked four times" by the department's judicial police laboratory prior to Sutherland's arrest, the report said. Sergeant Thompson.
Two doctors who treated patients in Hacienda, including the woman in the middle of the case, were no longer working at the retirement home. Last week Arizona's health care cost control system, which runs the state's Medicaid program, informed one of the doctors, Thanh Nguyen, that he had been suspended and that he could not work at Hacienda or at any other Medicaid-supported facility in the state.
The state accused Dr. Nguyen of placing "the health and well-being of A.H.C.C.C.C. members at risk, "according to a state letter obtained by Good Medical.The suspension only applies to work with Medicaid-supported centers in the state.
Registers of state show that he also leads a group of medical consultants who have contracted with the Arizona Veterans Services Department to care for veterans and their families. Neither Dr. Nguyen nor a spokesman for the Department of Veterans Services responded to requests for comment on Wednesday, and efforts to reach the group of consultants were unsuccessful.
A second doctor involved in treating the woman resigned from Hacienda last week, the company said Wednesday. The company refused to publicly identify the person.
Despite a team of doctors and nurses assigned to the woman, staff at the center were shocked that she was pregnant. In a frantic call to 911 at Hacienda on December 29, that the police recently released, a woman reported that a baby had just given birth and was in distress.
On Wednesday, Sergeant Thompson said the boy was fine.