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Ducey wants Hacienda leaders to step down amid sex assault, harassment

(Arizona Daily Star via AP, file)

PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey has called on the Hacienda HealthCare board of directors to step down, one day after learning the company’s former CEO was accused of sexual harassment.

In a series of tweets Friday, Ducey said the senior leadership at the facility, including the board, “needs to be completely replaced” and “terminated immediately.”

“My confidence level in that institution and its leadership is zero, and our job now is to ensure that the individuals in their facilities are safe,” Ducey said.

“This guy (former CEO Bill Timmons) should have been fired years ago. Period. Instead, he was protected and allowed to continue harming others. That’s unacceptable.”

Timmons resigned in December after a 29-year-old incapacitated patient gave birth at the Phoenix facility. Nathan Sutherland, a former Hacienda HealthCare nurse, was arrested Tuesday after a DNA sample linked him to the baby.

A facility spokesperson said in a statement Friday that the organization “intends to do everything in our power to restore its credibility with our patients, their families, the public and Gov. Ducey.”

Ducey also said his office is looking into what can be done to hold the facility and board “accountable for violating the public’s trust and failing in their responsibility so badly.

“Our agencies are reviewing the best course of action, but I can assure you Arizona will not tolerate this,” Ducey said.

Hacienda board chairman Tom Pomeroy said in a statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM on Thursday that the accusations against Timmons were taken seriously, but defended the decision not to fire him.

“While in hindsight (firing Timmons) may appear to be an easy call, it was not that simple in the moment,” the statement read.

“While Timmons attracted controversy and detractors, his years-long advocacy for Hacienda’s clients and their families helped fuel the growth of the company and increase its ability to change lives for the better.”

The Arizona State Board of Nursing is investigating whether other nurses working at Hacienda need to be held accountable.

President Randy Quinn said at a meeting Friday that the board will take immediate action if evidence points to other nurses failing to act.

The board formally announced that Sutherland voluntarily surrendered his license in response to their complaint.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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