New bodycam footage documents the harrowing moments after a woman in a long-term vegetative state gave birth at an Arizona care home after being raped by a male nurse.
Staff Hacienda Healthcare in Phoenix appeared completely bewildered with many seen to be in tears following the birth, as the entire pregnancy had come as a complete surprise.
The footage also shows police in the room with the victim – although it is heavily pixellated and neither she nor her newborn are visible.
The birth happened in December 2018 and triggered global outrage – but bodycam footage has only just been shared by police following a Freedom of Information request.
‘And when I looked, it was a *inaudible*. The baby coming,’ a distressed nurse can be heard telling an officer as she tearfully recounts the moment of birth and how she saw a baby’s head poking out as she changed the victim’s adult diaper.
‘When she opened the diaper, there was a head. And that poor aide didn’t work for a month. She was so distraught, so traumatized by the whole thing,’ a former employee told AZFamily.
Bodycam footage from Phoenix Police has been released including a moment that saw officers enter the room of the victim, who has been pixelated to guard her privacy
Bodycam footage has been released almost five years after a male nurse raped and impregnated a woman, 29, who was in a vegetative state in an Arizona healthcare facility
The subsequent birth came as a complete surprise to staff at the facility with the distress plain to see – all captured on footage now released by Phoenix Police
Many staff members were beside themselves with emotion following the sudden birth
The video reveals the chaos and emotion of facility staff in the minutes following the baby boy’s arrival in December 2018.
It also sees police going about their initial enquiries as they try to establish who had access to the victim’s room.
The woman, who was 29 at the time of the rape, has been severely disabled almost all of her life – since the age of three – and has been in a coma for most of it, meaning she was in no position to consent to sex.
She had lived at Hacienda for 26 years, until the child’s birth. Her medical conditions stem from a brain disorder that caused motor and cognitive impairments and vision loss. She was also left with no functional use of her limbs.
She gave birth at the facility as staff frantically called 911 for assistance, telling the operator that they had not known the 112-pound patient was pregnant.
‘All of her medical records, primary care physicians, nurses, visitor logs tracking about nine months back?’ a Phoenix police officer on scene asks a member of staff.
‘Only female care only,’ a nurse responds.
‘Okay, so no males ever go into her room allegedly?’ the officer continues.
‘No,’ the staff member replies.
Another staff member revealed how it was only when she was changing the victim’s diaper that she saw a baby was coming
Many staff could be seen standing around in the corridor in tears following the shock birth
Other staff members at the facility were quizzed as to who had access to the victim’s room
The family of the patient were also at a loss to understand who could have raped the woman, but a former employee explained how while the caregivers were all women, the victim would have been dealt with by nursing staff, which included men.
‘When they say caregivers, they’re talking about people who bathe you and dress you and feed you. But the nurse is something different. That’s on a different level. The nurse gives out medications and stuff like that,’ the former worker explained.
As part of the police investigation into the sexual assault, compulsory DNA tests were conducted on male staff at the facility revealing Nathan Sutherland, a devout Christian and father-of-four, to be the rapist.
Investigators arrested him and he was later convicted in court of rape and given a 10-year jail term.
Sutherland blamed being sexually assaulted at an orphanage and neglected by his mother, which he said caused him to ‘act inappropriately’ and ‘commit the evil act.’
That revelation came as huge shock to staff with him being described as the unlikeliest of suspects. He had worked at Hacienda for eight years – with staff there so fond of him they expressed relief that he was working in the aftermath of the horrific discovery.
At his sentencing he expressed ‘sincere’ remorse for his actions.
‘To the victim, I am very sorry. You do not deserve to be hurt. No matter what was going on in my personal life and the demons I was fighting. I had no right to put you through that. No words can express how painfully sorry I am. I am sincerely sorry.’
The victim had been a patient at Hacienda Healthcare in Phoenix for 26 years. Her medical conditions stem from a brain disorder that caused motor and cognitive impairments and vision loss
Former licensed nurse Nathan Sutherland, 36, pleaded guilty to sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult for impregnating the woman in a vegetative state in 2018
So liked was Sutherland, one of the parents of the victim told of her comfort that he had been on shift on the night of the birth.
‘One of the parents after the birth, Nate was working. This was before it was revealed who he was. One of the parents approached him one night and said, ‘I’m so glad you’re working tonight. I know my child is always safe when you’re here”, the parent had recalled.
Following this week’s release of the distressing footage, Hacienda Healthcare issued a statement:
‘Seeing video from that night almost 5 years ago is still gut-wrenching. Our hearts again go out to the victim and her family – and we remain disgusted by the behavior of the nurse who harmed a patient.
Sutherland’s abuse came to light in December 2018 after a nurse noticed the victim was going through labor and later gave birth to a baby boy. Doctors missed signs that she was pregnant including that she had gained weight, had a swollen abdomen and missed menstrual periods in the months before the child was born. (Pictured: in court in 2019)
Sutherland is seen in court following his arrest in 2019
Sutherland was given the harshest sentence he could receive after accepting a plea deal
‘Almost 5 years later, virtually everything about Hacienda HealthCare is different. We have new board members, new leaders, new personnel, new security infrastructure, new procedures, and new resident care protocols.
‘We have implemented every change required by state and federal agencies – plus our own improvements – and we have passed multiple inspections since then. Nothing can change that awful day, but we have worked diligently every day since to make sure no one in our care ever again suffers harm.’
The baby boy who was born in 2018 will be turning five in December. He is being cared for by relatives of his mother.
His mother remains ‘healthy’ and is now living in a different care facility in Phoenix.