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Trial date to be set for ex-Hacienda nurse charged with raping patient

(MCSO Photo; AP Photo)

PHOENIX – An August hearing was set Tuesday for a former nurse charged with raping an incapacitated patient who gave birth at a long-term care center in Phoenix.

A trial date for Nathan Sutherland will be set during the Aug. 28 hearing.

Sutherland pleaded not guilty in February to charges of sexual abuse and abuse of a vulnerable adult.

The 30-year-old patient, who had been living at Hacienda Healthcare since 1992, gave birth to a boy at the facility on Dec. 29.

Employees said they had no idea she was pregnant.

Sutherland and the baby were linked after authorities obtained a sample of the caregiver’s DNA.

The practical nurse was fired by Hacienda after his January arrest. He surrendered his nursing license.

Sutherland had lost an appeal of an order requiring a test to determine if he has sexually transmitted diseases.

It’s unclear whether Sutherland has taken the test.

The skilled nursing facility at 16th Street near Baseline Road has come under intense scrutiny since the sexual assault.

Its longtime chief executive, Bill Timmons, resigned shortly after the assault and pregnancy became public.

Gov. Doug Ducey requested an investigation of patient care there, questioned the capabilities of the company’s senior leadership and eventually signed a law to increase protection for vulnerable people in group homes.

Last month, the Arizona Department of Health Services issued a notice of intent to revoke Hacienda’s license.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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