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A Christian rapper who has been a licensed healthcare worker for the past 14 years has pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a severely disabled female patient who later gave birth,
Nathan Sutherland, 37, worked at the Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix, Arizona.
A patient at the facility, a 29-year-old woman who was in a persistent vegetative state, gave birth in December of 2018.
She had suffered a number of severe seizures as an infant, and then sustained brain damage after nearly drowning when she was just three years old.
After the birth of the baby was discovered, every male employee was asked to provide a DNA swab, and Sutherland was positively identified as the father of the baby boy.
In February 2019, Sutherland pleaded not guilty to rape but yesterday, September 2, he finally admitted his guilt in open court.
A statement from Hacienda HealthCare read: “After more than 2-1/2 years, all of us at Hacienda Healthcare are relieved that Nathan Sutherland has finally pleaded guilty to his awful offences. We have cooperated in every way possible with law enforcement and investigators. … Our hearts are with the victim and her family.”
The victim’s family said that in 2002 they had requested that she was only cared for by female staff because they feared she had been "touched inappropriately”.
Despite this request, it’s thought that Sutherland had been alone with the victim “hundreds” of times.
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In May, 2019, lawyers for the victim and her parents filed a legal claim against the state demanding $45 million in compensation for the "years of neglect, abuse, and exploitation."
In that lawsuit, the family made the shocking allegation that the young woman may have been pregnant before.
The birth was only noticed when a nurse was changing the woman’s underwear, and "saw a baby's head in her briefs.". Before that, while staff had noticed her swollen abdomen, they had treated her for constipation.
According to hospital records quoted in the family’s lawsuit, doctors found some old injuries that suggested a "history of vaginal penetration or trauma" before the baby's delivery.
A doctor who examined the victim said that while she was almost completely unable to move, she was aware of the world around her and would have been fully aware of the pain involved.
The legal claim notes that the young woman "suffered unspeakable terror, anguish, and pain through repeated sexual assaults, probably over many years, and now lives with the emotional and physical scars”.
Sutherland faces five to 10 years in prison. Court records show that he was divorced once in 2012, and that his current wife filed for divorce in December last year.
The baby is doing "quite well" according to recent reports.
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