A nurse accused of raping an incapacitated woman who later gave birth at a long-term care facility in Phoenix pleaded not guilty Tuesday to a sexual assault charge.
The hearing for Nathan Sutherland Tuesday only lasted a few minutes, with him identifying himself and stating his date of birth.
He pleaded not guilty to charges of sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult.
Authorities say Sutherland raped the 29-year-old victim at the Hacienda HealthCare facility. He has since given up his nursing license.
Hacienda workers said they didn’t know the woman was pregnant.
Investigators have said that Sutherland’s DNA matched a sample from the woman’s newborn.
Sutherland’s attorney, David Gregan, said in a brief statement that his client will present a full legal defense. Gregan has previously said there was no direct evidence linking Sutherland to the crime.
The Dec. 29 birth triggered reviews by state agencies, highlighted safety concerns for patients who are severely disabled or incapacitated and prompted the resignations of Hacienda’s chief executive and one of the victim’s doctors.