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The Arizona nurse accused of sexually assaulting and impregnating a non-verbal and “incapacitated” woman who recently gave birth pleaded not guilty Tuesday.
Nathan Sutherland’s hearing reportedly only lasted a few minutes, according to the Associated Press. He identified himself before pleading not guilty to charges of sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult. After the hearing, his lawyer David Gregan said he'll make sure Sutherland's rights are respected.
Sutherland, 36, was supposedly responsible for the care of the 29-year-old patient at Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix, who has been disabled since the age of 3. She gave birth to a baby boy on Dec. 29, much to the shock of staff at the facility.
Sutherland worked for Hacienda HealthCare since 2012. He was terminated after police announced his arrest last month. The facility said he passed an extensive background check, a fact they are reportedly “troubled” by.
Authorities say DNA from Sutherland matches DNA from the victim's baby. His defense attorney David Gregan said Sutherland has the right to get his own DNA expert. He also claims that there is no direct evidence linking his client to the alleged rape.
He “fooled everyone,” according to another patient’s mother.
“He was very loving, very compassionate. Or he pretended to be. And I really trusted him," Angela Gomez, whose son was cared for by Sutherland, told KPHO-TV in Phoenix, Arizona. "Never in my wildest dreams would I think that he would be the suspect that the PD was looking for. I suspected others, but I was wrong, and he fooled everybody.”
On Dec. 5, just three weeks before the victim gave birth, Sutherland's wife filed for divorce.
Sutherland was once one half of a Christian rap duo called Sleeplesssouljaz, the other half being his sister. They released their first album ”Certified Fake Face” in 2009. It has just one review on Amazon, a negative one, which is a response to Sutherland’s arrest.
[Photo: Maricopa County Jail]
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