POLICE in Phoenix, Arizona have arrested a male nurse after an incapacitated woman at a healthcare facility gave birth to a baby.
Nathan Sutherland, 36, has been charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse.
Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse, was responsible for providing care to the 29-year-old woman at the Hacienda Healthcare facility in Arizona when the sexual assault is believed to have occurred.
“This is a facility that you should be safe in and someone wasn’t,” said Phoenix Mayor Thelda Williams at a press conference today.
Police were alerted on December 29, 2018 after a 911 call reported a baby in distress.
The mother, a long-term patient at the facility, has been incapacitated since the age of three.
As she was therefore unable to give consent, a sexual assault investigation was immediately launched.
Staff at the facility had been unaware the patient was pregnant.
At today’s press conference, Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams praised the work of investigators.
“The hard work and dedication demonstrated by the members of this Phoenix Police Department has resulted in the arrest of the person whom we believe committed this unspeakable act when he sexually assaulted one of our most vulnerable members of our community,” she said.
She added: “We owed this arrest to the victim, we owed this arrest to the newest member of our community – that innocent baby.”
According to the Associated Press, the parents of the victim denied reports she was comatose or in a vegetative state, however they described her as intellectually disabled because of seizures in early childhood.
While she doesn’t speak, she has some mobility in her limbs, head and neck. She also responds to sound and can make facial gestures.
Sutherland provided a DNA sample on Tuesday, which was determined to match the baby.
He was taken into custody and invoked his Fifth Amendment rights, refusing to participate in an interview, said Phoenix Police spokesman Sergeant Tommy Thompson.
“The baby, I am told, is doing good,” added Sgt Thompson.
“We can’t always choose how we come into this life, but what we can choose to do as a community is love this child.”