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Former nurse accused of sexual assault at Hacienda Healthcare pleads not guilty

Nathan Sutherland is accused of sexually assaulting and impregnating an incapacitated patient at Hacienda Healthcare.

PHOENIX — The former nurse at Hacienda Healthcare in Phoenix who is accused of raping and impregnating an incapacitated patient pleaded not guilty during an arraignment hearing in Phoenix Tuesday.

Nathan Sutherland's next court date is an initial pretrial conference scheduled for March 19.

The case has gained international attention. Investigators say Sutherland used to care for the 29-year-old victim he's accused of raping. Workers at Hacienda Healthcare say they did not know she was pregnant.

PREVIOUSLY: Former Hacienda Healthcare nurse indicted on sex assault, vulnerable adult abuse

Investigators say Sutherland's DNA matched a sample from the victim's newborn. However, Sutherland's attorney says there's no direct evidence linking Sutherland to that rape. And he adds that he wants his own DNA expert for his client. The baby was born at the end of December 2018.

RELATED: Nathan Sutherland was a popular student, football player at Mesquite High School, according to teacher

Police say officers arrested Sutherland at his lawyer's office after they got his DNA sample with a search warrant.

READ: Nurse accused of raping incapacitated patient was a bully at work, according to an inside source

Right now, Sutherland is charged with sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult. He has since given up his nursing license.

RELATED: Woman shocked her former co-worker is Hacienda Healthcare rape suspect

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