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Hacienda Healthcare sex assault suspect pleads not guilty in court

Nathan Sutherland
KNXV Nathan Sutherland.jpg
Posted at 9:02 AM, Feb 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-05 15:52:58-05

PHOENIX — The suspect in the sexual assault of an incapacitated patient at Hacienda Healthcare has pleaded not guilty.

Nathan Sutherland, a caretaker at the facility, appeared in court on Tuesday morning. He was originally scheduled to appear in court last week, but the date was moved.

Sutherland's attorney told ABC15 after the hearing that he wants a fair trial.

FULL SECTION: Hacienda Healthcare Investigation

Sutherland was arrested in January after a DNA test matched him to the baby that was birthed by a patient in late December.

The surprise birth triggered reviews by state agencies, highlighted safety concerns for patients who are severely disabled or incapacitated and prompted the resignations of Hacienda's chief executive and one of the victim's doctors

After his arrest, Sutherland voluntarily surrendered his nursing license. He was a licensed healthcare worker in Arizona for the past 14 years.

Prosecutors asked a judge on Friday to order that Sutherland be tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. A judge hasn't yet ruled on the request. An Arizona law says a person accused of sexual assault is subject to tests to determine whether they have a sexually transmitted disease. Such results are to be released to the victims.