The former Hacienda nurse accused of raping and impregnating an incapacitated woman under his care entered a not guilty plea Tuesday in Maricopa County Superior Court.
The arraignment hearing was 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland’s first public court appearance since Phoenix police announced they matched his DNA to the child born to a 29-year-old female patient at Hacienda HealthCare last month.
Sutherland was formally indicted on charges
of sexual assault and vulnerable-adult abuse last week. He is being
held in a Maricopa County jail on a $500,000 cash-only bail.
He’s scheduled to appear in court next on March 19 for an initial pretrial conference.
Police said Sutherland was primarily responsible for the woman’s care at the time of the assault. He began working at Hacienda in 2012 and was promptly fired after the facility learned of his arrest.
He’s since voluntarily surrendered his license to the Arizona State Board of Nursing.
Sutherland’s wife filed for divorce on Dec. 5 – three weeks before the victim gave birth. Court documents indicate they’ve been separated since May.