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Hearing set over DNA evidence in Hacienda rape case

PHOENIX (AP) — A judge has scheduled a May 21 hearing to consider a challenge to the DNA evidence against a nurse charged with sexually assaulting an incapacitated woman who later gave birth at a long-term care facility in Phoenix.

An attorney for Nathan Sutherland argues 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.

Prosecutors are scheduled to file a response to the challenge later this week.

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 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.

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.

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