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The former Arizona nurse accused of sexually assaulting a non-verbal and “incapacitated” patient who ended up giving birth is now fighting a court-ordered HIV and sexually transmitted disease test.
Nathan Sutherland, 36, was supposedly responsible for the care of the 29-year-old woman, who has been disabled since the age of 3, at Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix. She gave birth to a baby boy on Dec. 29, much to the shock of staff at the facility who were apparently unaware she was even pregnant. Authorities claim DNA from Sutherland matches DNA from the victim's baby.
Earlier this year he was indicted on charges of sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult. He pleaded not guilty and is being held on $500,000 cash bail.
During a hearing held in Maricopa County Superior Court Tuesday, his attorney Edward Molina told a judge that a recent order requiring Sunderland to get tested for HIV and other STDs is unconstitutional, according to the Arizona Republic. Molina asked to schedule a hearing regarding that order, which would also require the test results to be given to the alleged victim. A hearing to discuss the potential testing has been scheduled for March 26.
"They want to test him for HIV and I don't know why they don't just test the person they believe has it," he told the Arizona Republic after Tuesday’s hearing. By “the person” he means the alleged victim.
Sutherland work for Hacienda HealthCare since 2012. He was terminated after police announced his arrest. The facility said he passed an extensive background check, a fact they are reportedly “troubled” by.
Molina also filed a motion to request that Sutherland be allowed to wear casual clothing for any court proceedings because of the media attention of the case. He said that the image of Sutherland in shackles could affect a future jury, according to the Arizona Republic.
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