PHOENIX — A woman who said she worked alongside the man accused of sexually assaulting a woman with a severe intellectual disability at Hacienda Healthcare said Thursday she thought Nathan Sutherland was an excellent caretaker.

Eleanora Riggers said she was absolutely shocked to learn of the accusations against Sutherland.

“I was absolutely devastated, devastated. He was somebody that I worked very closely with,” Riggers said.

Sutherland was accused of raping and impregnating a woman with significant intellectual disabilities under his care at the time. 

Riggers said Thursday that during her time working alongside the suspect at Hacienda Healthcare, she trusted him professionally.

“I felt very confident in him as a professional—confident in his abilities and mine—and we worked well as a team. If I had a problem, I had no problem going to him and knowing that he would address whatever patient concern I had,” Riggers said.

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Riggers didn’t suspect the man she swapped stories with, of home and their children, would end up here.

Phoenix police detectives said Tuesday that DNA showed Sutherland was the father of the victim’s newborn. 

“My thought process went from thinking he was this good Christian guy to thinking he’s a sociopath and he had everybody fooled,” Riggers said.

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According to a statement from Hacienda Healthcare, Sutherland underwent an extensive background check upon hiring. He was arrested Tuesday and is scheduled to be back in court next Wednesday.