PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) – The man accused of raping a woman at Hacienda HealthCare appeared in court Tuesday morning.

Nathan Sutherland, 36, plead not guilty to sexual assault charges in a Maricopa County court.

On Jan. 23, Phoenix police announced the arrest of Sutherland.

Phoenix police chief Jeri Williams said Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse at Hacienda HealthCare, was responsible for providing care for the victim at the time the sexual assault occurred. 

[RELATED: Who is the nurse arrested for sexual assault at Hacienda HealthCare?]

The charges come from the investigation into the facility after a woman who was originally reported to be in a vegetative state gave birth late last month. The family has since clarified that she is not in a vegetative state but has "significant intellectual disabilities as a result of seizures very early in her childhood."

Sgt. Tommy Thompson with the Phoenix Police Department said Sutherland was connected to the case through DNA. On Tuesday, Jan. 22, investigators collected DNA with the help of a court order, and determined that Sutherland's DNA matched the baby.

Sutherland was booked into jail on one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse, both felonies. 

[CONTINUING COVERAGE: Hacienda HealthCare pregnancy investigation]

"We have worked virtually nonstop every day, every night, 7 days a week trying to solve and resolve this case," Williams said. ''We owed this arrest to the victim. We owed this arrest to the newest member of our community, that innocent baby."

Sutherland’s next court appearance is scheduled for March 19.

[PDF: Court documents for Nathan Sutherland]


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