Sutherland sentenced to 10 years in prison in Hacienda rape case

Dec 2, 2021, 2:40 PM | Updated: 9:50 pm

(AP Pool Photo)...

PHOENIX — A former Arizona nurse on Thursday was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually assaulting an incapacitated woman who eventually gave birth about three years ago at a long-term care facility in Phoenix.

The sentence was the maximum under the guidelines of Nathan Sutherland’s plea deal, which could have seen him serve as little as 5 1/4 years. He was granted time served, which amounted to a little less than three years.

He will be placed under lifetime probation following his release.

“To the victim, I’m sorry. You didn’t deserve to be hurt no matter what was going on in my personal life and the demons I was fighting,” Sutherland said during the sentencing.

“I had no right to put you through that. No words can express how painfully sorry I am. I am sincerely sorry.”

Sutherland pleaded guilty in September to sexual abuse and abuse of a vulnerable adult in relation to the 2018 incident at the Hacienda Healthcare facility.

He was arrested in January 2019, almost a month after the pregnancy was discovered when a Hacienda employee was changing the garments of the victim and noticed the patient was in the process of delivering a child.

Employees told police that they had no idea the woman was pregnant.

“We are relieved that he will never again torment another innocent human being,” Perry Petrilli, Hacienda CEO, said in a statement. “As they have been since the moment we learned of Sutherland’s terrible actions, our thoughts and hearts are with the victim, the victim’s family and loved ones.

“We hope this last chapter of the Sutherland case brings them all greater peace.”

Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse, had initially pleaded not guilty. He was fired by Hacienda after his arrest and has since given up his nursing license.

The case 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.

The victim 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.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

Stock image of police tape and file photo of a Glendale, Arizona, police department cruiser....

2 hospitalized with gunshot wounds after domestic dispute, police standoff

One victim and one suspect have been hospitalized with life-threatening injuries after a domestic dispute and a police standoff in Glendale.

1 hour ago

Follow @KTAR923...

Tempe Festival of the Arts returning this weekend to Mill Avenue

A decades-long tradition is returning to Tempe this weekend to bring together the community, art and food.

4 hours ago

Casa Grande police...

2 teenagers arrested for murder at Casa Grande house party

The Casa Grande police department arrested two teenage boys in connection with the death of 17-year-old Hailey Stephens.

5 hours ago

Follow @KTAR923...

Police, family seek answers after 22-year-old Tempe woman found dead in burning car

The family of a 22-year-old Tempe woman who was found dead in a burning car is still seeking answers seven months after her murder.

7 hours ago

A 1-year-old girl is in critical condition after being pulled from a backyard pool on Tuesday after...

1-year-old girl in critical condition after being pulled from pool in Phoenix

A 1-year-old girl is in critical condition after being pulled from a backyard pool on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.

8 hours ago

Valley Metro saw a nearly 40% increase in light rail ridership the three days the D-backs hosted Wo...

Valley Metro saw boom in light rail ridership with D-backs in World Series

Valley Metro saw a nearly 40% increase in light rail ridership the three days the D-backs hosted World Series games.

9 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Follow @KTAR923...

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

Follow @KTAR923...

The 2023 Diamondbacks are a good example to count on the underdog

The Arizona Diamondbacks made the World Series as a surprise. That they made the playoffs at all, got past the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Wild Card round, swept the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and won two road games in Philadelphia to close out a full seven-game NLCS went against every expectation. Now, […]


Midwestern University

Midwestern University: innovating Arizona health care education

Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus near Loop 101 and 59th Avenue is an established leader in health care education and one of Arizona’s largest and most valuable health care resources.

Sutherland sentenced to 10 years in prison in Hacienda rape case