PHOENIX — Nathan Sutherland, the former nurse who sexually assaulted and impregnated an incapacitated patient at Hacienda Healthcare, was sentenced Thursday to 10 years in prison.
Sutherland pleaded guilty earlier this year to assaulting a woman who later gave birth to his child in 2018. A Maricopa County judge ordered Sutherland to lifetime supervised probation after he's released from prison and will have to register as a sex offender.
The defendant was credited 1,044 days for time already spent in jail.
The Phoenix Police Department said Sutherland was a licensed practical nurse who worked at Hacienda Healthcare starting in 2012.
According to police, he was responsible for providing care to the victim during the time she was sexually assaulted. Staff at the facility were not aware she was pregnant until she started giving birth in December 2018.
"We had no idea this patient was pregnant," a Hacienda staff member told a 911 dispatcher.
Sutherland's crime brought to light several problems at Hacienda Healthcare that go much deeper and started well before the fateful 911 call.
The privately-owned intermediate care facility was unlicensed by the state for more than 20 years before the surprise birth. Lawmakers had previously permitted exemptions for privately run intermediate care facilities like Hacienda.
In 2019, lawmakers reversed course and Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation requiring state licensing and inspections for such facilities.
Hacienda's former CEO, William J. Timmons, was recently sentenced to three years of supervised probation after pleading guilty to fraud charges.
Perry Petrilli, Hacienda's current CEO, released the following statement after Sutherland's sentencing:
"For nearly three years, our team has cooperated in every way possible with law enforcement and prosecutors in the Sutherland case. We are relieved that he will never again torment another innocent human being.
As they have been since the moment we learned of Sutherland’s terrible actions, our thoughts and hearts are with the victim, the victim’s family and loved ones. We hope this last chapter of the Sutherland case brings them all greater peace."
In a statement, Maricopa County Attorney Allister Adel said Sutherland's sentence was a "just" and "appropriate" punishment for his crimes.
"This sentence honors the wishes of the victims in this case." Adel said. "I am committed to holding offenders accountable and when determining the terms of a plea agreement offered to any defendant, all factors, both mitigating and aggravating, are considered."
Hacienda Healthcare Coverage
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