Lawyer: No proof nurse raped Arizona patient who had baby

Lawyer: No proof nurse raped Arizona patient who had baby ,

“We owed this arrest to the victim. We owed this arrest to the newest member of our community — that innocent baby,” Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said.

The surprise birth late last month triggered reviews by state agencies, highlighted safety concerns for patients who

are severely disabled or incapacitated and led to disciplinary actions and resignations of staffers and managers. It also prompted authorities to test the DNA of all the men who worked at the Hacienda HealthCare facility.

Sutherland, 36, submitted his DNA sample under court order Tuesday and the results came back a few hours later, showing he was a match to the baby. He declined to speak with police and invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, police spokesman Tommy Thompson said.

Sutherland appeared in court Wednesday but did not enter a plea. A Maricopa County Superior Court commissioner set a $500,000 cash-only bond. If Sutherland posts bond, he would need to wear an electronic monitoring device.

Defense attorney David Gregan had asked for a lower bond on the grounds that Sutherland didn’t have a criminal record. He described his client as a family man with young children who has lived in Arizona since 1993.

“There’s no direct evidence that Mr. Sutherland has committed these acts,” Gregan said. “I know at this point there’s DNA. But he will have a right to his own DNA expert.”

Gregan did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Investigators found that Sutherland had treated the victim and spent a lot of time with her, according to a probable cause statement. Investigators believe Sutherland raped the patient sometime between February and April.

A former neighbor, Esella Burr, said she lived next to Sutherland, his wife and four children for more than five years. She often saw the couple leave for church on Sundays and they would chat occasionally.

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