ARIZONA NEWS

Phoenix nurse in Hacienda rape case wants DNA evidence tossed out

Feb 26, 2021, 1:00 PM

(AP Pool Photo)...

PHOENIX (AP) — A nurse charged with sexually assaulting an incapacitated woman who later gave birth at a long-term care facility in Phoenix is asking a judge to throw out DNA evidence that authorities say ties him to the rape.

An attorney for Nathan Sutherland said in a court filing this week that the evidence should be tossed because Phoenix police officers didn’t get a warrant or have probable cause to take his client’s DNA and instead relied on a court order with a lesser standard of proof to gather the evidence.

Sutherland’s lawyer, Edwin Molina, said investigators made a misrepresentation when saying in a request for the court order that 36 male Hacienda HealthCare employees whose DNA was being sought had direct access to the victim. Molina argued police were unaware of the job duties of the 36 men or whether they had contact with the victim and said that investigators worked under the theory that “anybody and everybody could be a suspect.”

The Phoenix Police Department and Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting Sutherland, declined to comment on Sutherland’s request.

The pregnancy was discovered in December 2018 when an employee at the long-term care facility was changing the garments of the then-29-year-old victim and noticed she was in the process of delivering a child. Employees told police that they had no idea the woman was pregnant.

She lived at Hacienda for 26 years, until the child’s birth. Her medical conditions stem from a brain disorder that caused motor and cognitive impairments and vision loss. She was also left with no functional use of her limbs.

Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse, has pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult. He was fired by Hacienda after his arrest and has since given up his nursing license.

Police have said Sutherland’s DNA matched a sample taken from the woman’s son. The victim’s mother is the boy’s guardian.

The surprise birth triggered reviews by state agencies, highlighted safety concerns for patients who are severely disabled or incapacitated and prompted the resignations of Hacienda’s chief executive and one of the victim’s doctors.

It led to a lawsuit from the victim’s parents that alleged Sutherland had cared for their daughter on hundreds of occasions from 2012 through 2018, despite promises from the state — which contracts with companies like Hacienda to provide services to people with developmental disabilities — that only women would tend to her.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

A man was arrested for arson after a fire broke out early Saturday at Grand Canyon National Park on...

KTAR.com

21-year-old Arizona man arrested on arson, DUI charges at Grand Canyon National Park

A man was arrested for arson after a fire broke out at Grand Canyon National Park last week, authorities said.

5 minutes ago

A one-year-old boy is in critical condition after nearly drowning in Scottsdale. (Pexels photo)...

KTAR.com

1-year-old in serious condition after nearly drowning in Scottsdale pool

A one-year-old boy is in serious condition after he was pulled from a pool in Scottsdale on Friday, the Scottsdale Fire Department said.

37 minutes ago

Colorado River settlement center of new Navajo Nation push...

Associated Press

Tribes say their future is at stake as they push for Congress to consider Colorado River settlement

Navajo officials are celebrating the signing of legislation outlining a proposed Colorado River settlement that would ensure water rights.

3 hours ago

Man indicted for organized retail theft, allegedly stole 31 times...

Serena O'Sullivan

Phoenix man accused of stealing from same retail store 31 times

A Phoenix man allegedly stole goods worth $7,000 from a single store over two years. He's been indicted for organized retail theft.

4 hours ago

The OFFSTREET Fesitval Arts & Crafts Show will return to Prescott, Ariz. for Memorial Day weekend. ...

Damon Allred

OFFSTREET Festival Arts & Crafts Show returns to Prescott for Memorial Day weekend

The OFFSTREET Festival Arts & Crafts Show is returning to Pine Ridge Marketplace in Prescott for a cultural showcase over the weekend.

5 hours ago

Two coyotes were euthanized following their capture in Scottsdale on Wednesday, May 22, 2024, after...

KTAR.com

2 coyotes euthanized after man walking his dog attacked in Scottsdale

Two coyotes were euthanized following their capture in Scottsdale on Wednesday after a man walking his dog was attacked.

7 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

DISC Desert Institute for Spine Care

Sciatica pain is treatable but surgery may be required

Sciatica pain is one of the most common ailments a person can face, and if not taken seriously, it could become one of the most harmful.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

Phoenix nurse in Hacienda rape case wants DNA evidence tossed out