A male nurse has been arrested in Arizona for the sexual assault of a woman who gave birth while in a long-term vegetative state, police said Wednesday.
The 29-year-old victim — who authorities said “wasn’t in a position to give consent” — gave birth late last month to a baby boy, igniting an investigation.
The suspect’s DNA was matched to that of the baby, causing the arrest, according to police.
The mother of a patient at a long-term care facility where an incapacitated woman gave birth could hardly believe that a 36-year-old nurse who helped care for her son was the suspect arrested this week.
“He was very loving, very compassionate. Or he pretended to be. And I really trusted him,” Angela Gomez said of the suspect, Nathan Sutherland.
She said never in her “wildest dreams” did she think Sutherland would be the suspect authorities were looking for.
Sutherland is a “licensed practical nurse who had been accountable for providing care to the victim during this time that the sexual assault occurred,” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said.
The police chief said she hadn’t struck a similar situation during 30 years in law enforcement.
The victim’s family said in a statement that she “has significant intellectual disabilities as a result of seizures quite early in her youth” The victim “doesn’t speak but has some capability to move her limbs, neck and head” and “reacts to sound and can make facial
“The baby, I’m told, is doing great,” explained Thompson.
“We can’t always choose how we come into this life, but what we can choose to do as a community is love this child, and that’s what we have the opportunity to do,” he said.
An attorney for the girl’s family has said the baby “was born into a loving family and will be well cared for,” according to The New York Times.
The CEO of the nursing center resigned after the scandal.
“That is a facility that you ought to be safe in and someone was not,” Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams stated.