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Hacienda HealthCare board chairman resigns amid sex assault probe

The Hacienda HealthCare facility is shown Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Matt York)

PHOENIX — The chairman of Hacienda HealthCare’s board of directors announced Thursday he would resign as the company faces an uncertain future after a nurse was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting an incapacitated patient.

Tom Pomeroy said he was resigning on Friday in order to allow new leadership to step in after a 29-year-old patient with limited mobility and no speech gave birth at a Phoenix facility in December.

“If Hacienda is to move forward after the deeply disturbing events of the past few months, it’s clear that the organization needs new leadership,” Pomeroy said.

“Hacienda needs to get better, because what Hacienda does is too important to accept such a failure. If my resignation contributes in some way to Hacienda moving forward, then I do so sadly, but without an iota of doubt. I want Hacienda to thrive for its patients, their families, our people and our community.”

Pomeroy added that he was proud of the facility for servicing the community for more than 50 years and helping thousands of special needs individuals and their families.

Nathan Sutherland, a Hacienda nurse who cared for the patient during the time of the alleged sexual assault, was arrested on Jan. 23, after investigators said they matched his DNA to the baby’s.

He has since pleaded not guilty to the charges of sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult.

Pomeroy served on the board for 38 years, longer than any other member.

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