Christian nurse charged with raping comatose patient who later gave birth in long-term care facility loses bid to toss out DNA evidence linking him to the child after he claimed cops obtained it illegally

 An Arizona judge has denied a former nurse's request to throw out DNA evidence used to link him to the alleged rape of a comatose patient who later gave birth.

The DNA matched that of the baby boy who was born at the Hacienda Healthcare facility in Phoenix in December 2018.

Attorneys representing Nathan Sutherland claimed the evidence should be tossed out in the trial against him because Phoenix police did not get a warrant or have probable cause to take Sutherland's DNA.

Instead, defense attorney Edwin Molina said, the police made a 'misrepresentation' in their request for a warrant by claiming the 36 men whose DNA samples they were seeking had direct access to the female victim. 

He wrote that the police were unaware of the job duties of all 36 men at the time, and would therefore not know who had been in contact with the the then-29-year-old victim. They were just working under the assumption that 'anybody and everybody could be a suspect,' Molina wrote in a request to dismiss the DNA evidence.

But Judge Stephen Hopkins upheld the police's collection of DNA and will allow it to be used in the trial against Sutherland, who is charged with sexual assault.

'The victim had been in a vegetative state since the age of three,' Hopkins wrote in his decision Monday. 'It was a very logical deduction that one of the male employees/agents who were present at the facility would be the father.'

Sutherland pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult

Sutherland pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult

He also rejected Sutherland's characterization that police had a casual approach to the investigation. Hopkins said there was no evidence to suggest, as Sutherland had previously claimed, that a routine order to collect evidence was signed by a court official to save face politically in the high-profile investigation.

It is unclear whether Sutherland will appeal the ruling.

He has previously pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult. He was fired by Hacienda after his arrest in January 2019 and has since given up his nursing license.


The pregnancy was discovered in late 2018 when an employee at the Hacienda Healthcare facility in Phoenix was changing the garments of the unnamed victim and noticed she was in the process of delivering a child. 

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

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

The surprise birth at the Hacienda Healthcare facility triggered reviews by state agencies and highlighted safety concerns for patients

The surprise birth at the Hacienda Healthcare facility triggered reviews by state agencies and highlighted safety concerns for patients

Nathan Sutherland arrested and charged with rape of comatose woman
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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 CEO Bill Timmons and one of the victim's doctors.   

Hacienda CEP Bill Timmons resigned following the unexpected birth

Hacienda CEP Bill Timmons resigned following the unexpected birth

It also led to a lawsuit filed by the victim's parents, alleging Sutherland had cared for their daughter more than 1,000 times between 2012 and 2018, despite a promise from the state — which contracts with establishments like Hacienda to provide services to people with developmental disabilities — that only women would tend to her.

They claimed in court documents that more than 800 of these visits were conducted overnight, when there are fewer staff members and visitors around.

Lawyers for the family also claimed scarring on the victim indicated she had been raped multiple times, and may have even been impregnated before.

They said Hacienda missed dozens of signs that the woman was carrying a baby, pointing out that she had gained weight, had a swollen belly and missed menstrual periods in the months before the boy was born.

The victim was on a feeding tube and her nutrition had been reduced in response to her weight gain during the pregnancy, the lawyers claim, and she delivered the boy while severely dehydrated and without pain medications.

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 CEO Bill Timmons and one of the victim's doctors.   

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.

Christian nurse charged with raping comatose patient who later gave birth in long-term care facility loses bid to toss out DNA evidence linking him to the child after he claimed cops obtained it illegally Christian nurse charged with raping comatose patient who later gave birth in long-term care facility loses bid to toss out DNA evidence linking him to the child after he claimed cops obtained it illegally Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 04:39 Rating: 5

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