Nurse charged with rape of disabled US woman who gave birth

Nathan Sutherland is shown in this booking photo in Phoenix, Arizona, US, provided January 23, 2019. (Maricopa Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS)
Updated 24 January 2019
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Nurse charged with rape of disabled US woman who gave birth

  • Nathan Sutherland was arrested after investigators linked him to the case through DNA evidence
  • He was ordered held on $500,000 bail during a brief appearance in Maricopa County Superior Court
PHOENIX, USA: An Arizona male nurse has been charged with raping a severely disabled woman at the long-term care facility where he worked, a crime that came to light only after she gave birth, prosecutors said on Wednesday.
Nathan Sutherland, 36, was arrested by investigators who linked him to the case through DNA evidence after the woman, who is in her 20s, unexpectedly gave birth on Dec. 29 at Hacienda Healthcare Skilled Nursing Facility in Phoenix.
“From the minute we first became aware of this crime, a sexual assault, we have worked virtually non-stop every day, every night, seven days a week trying to solve and resolve this case,” Police Chief Jeri Williams told a news conference.
Williams said the case, which has made international headlines, was solved through a combination of DNA and “good old fashioned police work.”
Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse who began working at Hacienda Health care in 2012, was charged with one count each of sexual assault and abuse of a vulnerable adult. He was ordered held on $500,000 bail during a brief appearance in Maricopa County Superior Court.
Reuters could not reach Sutherland’s defense lawyer for comment on Wednesday.
The Arizona Republic newspaper reported that attorney Dave Gregan said during the hearing that there was no direct evidence against his client, who had no criminal history, and that the defense planned to conduct its own DNA tests.
The woman, who has been disabled since very early childhood as a result of seizures, has spent most of her life in Phoenix’s Hacienda Healthcare.
Though she was initially described as comatose, her parents said in a written statement that although she was disabled she could respond to sound, make facial gestures and had some ability to move her limbs, head and neck.
“The important thing is that she is a beloved daughter, albeit with significant intellectual disabilities,” they said.
The parents declined to comment on Sutherland’s arrest in a separate statement issued through their attorney.
Hacienda employees were not aware that woman was pregnant before she went into labor, police say, and were first alerted to the case when the baby was born. Police then sought DNA samples from all male employees.
The facility said in a written statement that Sutherland was fired as soon as administrators learned of his arrest.
“Before he started work with Hacienda, he underwent extensive background checks, including an extended criminal history search; a search of multiple government registries, including sex offender registries and Arizona Department of Economic Security and Child Protective Services registries; and checks of his personal references,” it said.
The baby, a boy who is being cared for by family members, is doing well, police said. (Reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix and Peter Szekely in New York Writing by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)


Dutch court cuts state’s liability for Srebrenica deaths

In this Wednesday, March 20, 2019 file photo, a woman prays at the Potocari memorial center for victims of the Srebrenica genocide, in Potocari, Bosnia and Herzegovina. (AP)
Updated 20 July 2019
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Dutch court cuts state’s liability for Srebrenica deaths

  • The 350 were among the almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the genocide at Srebrenica, the worst massacre in Europe since World War II

THE HAGUE: The Dutch Supreme Court on Friday slashed the state’s liability for 350 victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre, saying peacekeepers had only a “slim” chance of preventing their deaths.
The 350 men were among 5,000 terrified residents who had sought safety in the Dutch peacekeepers’ base when the besieged Muslim enclave was overrun by Bosnian Serb forces in July 1995.
The lightly armed Dutch troops eventually became overwhelmed and shut the gates to new arrivals before allowing Bosnian Serb forces commanded by Ratko Mladic to evacuate the refugees.
The men and boys were separated and taken in buses to their deaths, their bodies dumped in mass graves.
Judges, however, on Friday reduced from 30 percent to 10 percent the Dutch state’s responsibility for compensation to the families in a case brought by the Mothers of Srebrenica victims’ organization.
The 350 were among the almost 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in the genocide at Srebrenica, the worst massacre in Europe since World War II and the darkest episode in the break-up of the former Yugoslavia.
“The Dutch State bears very limited liability in the ‘Mothers of Srebrenica’ case,” the Supreme Court said. “That liability is limited to 10 percent of the damages suffered by the surviving relatives of approximately 350 victims.”

After the ruling, Mothers’ president Munira Subasic, who lost family members including her son, husband and father in the massacre, expressed disappointment.
“Today we experienced humiliation upon humiliation. We could not even hear the judgment in our own language because we were not given a translator,” she told AFP.
At Srebrenica “every life was taken away 100 percent. There is little we can do with 10 percent, but yes, the responsibility still lies where it does.”
“I only have two bones. I have found less than 10 percent of his body,” she added, referring to her teenage son.
The Dutch government accepted responsibility, saying it was relieved that “finally there was some clarity.”
A Dutch court originally held the state liable for compensation in 2014. In 2017 the appeals court upheld that decision before it was referred to the Supreme Court.
The lower court had said in 2017 that the Dutch actions meant the Muslims were “denied a 30 percent chance of avoiding abuse and execution,” and thus the Dutch state was liable for 30 percent of damages owed to families.
The Supreme Court agreed that “the state did act wrongfully in relation to the evacuation of the 5,000 refugees” in the compound, including 350 Muslim men the Bosnian Serbs were unaware of.
It said the Dutch peacekeepers “failed to offer these 350 male refugees the choice to stay where they were, even though that would have been possible.”
But explaining the decision to reduce the liability, the Supreme Court said that “the chance that the male refugees would have escaped the Bosnian Serbs had they been given the choice to stay was slim, but not negligible.”
Reacting to the ruling, Dutch Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld said in a statement the cabinet would “examine how to best implement the liability for damages suffered by the relatives in such a way it does justice to the Supreme Court ruling.”

In a swipe at the failure of other foreign powers to act during the 1995 crisis, the top court added that the “chance of Dutchbat (the Dutch UN mission) receiving effective support from the international community was slim.”
Former Dutchbat soldiers attending the case said they were disappointed on behalf of the victims’ families.
“I think the final judgment is a bit disappointing, especially when you see the court ruling of 30 percent and now it’s downgraded to 10 percent,” said Remko de Bruijne, a former Dutch blue helmet who served at Srebrenica.
“I think that’s not fair for the Mothers of Srebrenica but, on the other hand, now it’s clear,” he told AFP.
Srebrenica has cast a long shadow over The Netherlands, forcing a the government to resign in 2002 after a scathing report on the role of politicians in the episode.
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic is currently serving a life sentence in jail in The Hague after being convicted of genocide over Srebrenica and war crimes throughout the 1990s.
Ex-military chief Mladic, 76, dubbed the “Butcher of Bosnia,” is currently appealing a life sentence on similar charges at an international tribunal in The Hague.
Slobodan Milosevic, Karadzic’s long-time patron during the war, was on trial in The Hague at the time of his death in 2006.