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Hacienda HealthCare assault suspect gives up nursing license

This photo provided by Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office shows Nathan Sutherland. Phoenix police say Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse, has been arrested on a charge of sexual assault of an incapacitated woman who gave birth last month at a long-term health care facility. Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2019, that investigators arrested Sutherland on one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse. (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

PHOENIX – The practical nurse accused of sexually assaulting a patient at a Hacienda HealthCare facility has given up his license to practice, according to the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

A verification report online showed that Nathan Sutherland, who was arrested this week after DNA evidence tied him to a baby born to an incapacitated woman, had voluntarily surrendered his practical nursing license Thursday.

“As of yesterday evening, Mr. Sutherland is no longer a nurse,” Randy C. Quinn, the board’s president, said during a Friday afternoon meeting.

“He will never again be able to use this noble profession as a tool to prey on the vulnerable and the defenseless.”

The board also is investigating whether other nurses working at Hacienda HealthCare need to be held accountable.

Quinn said the board would take immediate action if evidence points to other nurses failing to act.

Sutherland was taken into custody Tuesday, hours after Phoenix police received the results of his court-ordered sample.

The 36-year-old had been working at the center since 2011, assigned to the intermediate care unit.

The unidentified 29-year-old patient had lived at the care site since she was 3, a family spokesman has said.

She gave birth to a boy on Dec. 29. Staff had been unaware she was pregnant until she went into labor.

Police were called and began a sexual assault investigation.

Before he was hired, Sutherland went through background checks that included searches of criminal history, sex offender registries, Child Protective Services registries and checks of his references, Hacienda said in a statement the day of the arrest.

Sutherland completed a physical examination and drug screening before employment and was issued a Fingerprint Clearance Card in 2012, according to the statement, which also said his nursing license had been “current and in good standing.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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