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Facility where woman who was raped and gave birth while incapacitated will close

"For some patients at the facility, this is the only home they know or remember," Arizona's governor said.

by Rex Santus
Feb 8 2019, 5:16pm

Correction 5/24: A previous version of this story and headline referred to the woman as in a “vegetative state.” The text has been updated to reflect that she has “some ability to move” and is “alert,” according to her family’s lawyer.

The live-in healthcare facility in Arizona where a 29-year-old incapacitated woman was raped and gave birth is closing.

The board of directors at the facility, Hacienda HealthCare, voted Friday to close down because it’s “not sustainable to continue to operate,” according to the Arizona Republic. The facility houses 37 patients, and the board did not lay out a timeline for ending operations or a transition plan for the residents.

Hacienda HealthCare entered the national spotlight after news broke that a resident woman who had been in a nonverbal, incapacitated state since she was a toddler had given birth. Attendants who called 911 did not know she was pregnant and only learned she was in labor because she was moaning.

Authorities arrested 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland, alleged to be the father, in January after a DNA test matched him to the child, a healthy boy. Sutherland is being held without bond and has been charged with one count of sexual assault and another of vulnerable adult abuse. The patient is a member of the San Carlos Apache Tribe, and her child is living with her family.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, a Republican, expressed alarm over the decision to close the facility.

"For some patients at the facility, this is the only home they know or remember," a spokesman for the governor told the Republic. "Forcing this medically fragile community to move should be a last resort. Everyone's first priority should be protecting their health and safety."

Cover image: Nathan Sutherland, accused of raping and impregnating a patient at Hacienda HealthCare, is arraigned in Maricopa County Superior Court, Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic via AP, Pool)