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Arizona Nurse Accused of Raping Incapacitated Patient Pleads Not Guilty

A nurse accused of raping an incapacitated woman who gave birth at a long-term care facility in Phoenix last year has pleaded not guilty to a sexual-assault charge. Nathan Sutherland, a 36-year-old caretaker and licensed practical nurse at the Hacienda HealthCare facility in Phoenix, also pleaded not guilty to the vulnerable adult abuse charge in Maricopa County court on Tuesday. At the hearing, which only lasted a few minutes, Sutherland identified himself and stated his date of birth before entering his plea. Authorities say Sutherland raped the 29-year-old victim at Hacienda HealthCare facility, and workers didn’t know she was pregnant until she went into labor. Despite Sutherland’s DNA being a match to the sample from the woman’s newborn, Sutherland’s attorney said Tuesday there is no direct evidence linking Sutherland to the crime.