State opposes closure of Hacienda Healthcare facility

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - In a letter sent to Hacienda Healthcare, two Arizona agencies oppose the closure of the facility where an incapacitated woman was raped and later gave birth to a baby boy.

In a letter sent by the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System and Arizona Department of Economic Security, the state says it does not consent to Hacienda Healthcare closing its south Phoenix facility where the rape occurred last year.

"The State's primary objective is to ensure that the residents are living in a safe environment and are provided appropriate care by qualified individuals in a manner that is safe and that fully addresses the residents' needs and the choices of the residents and their families," the letter reads. "To be clear, the State does not consent at this time to the ICF-IID ceasing operations.

On Thursday, Hacienda Healthcare announced it would begin to transition clients and eventually close the facility.

"After careful consideration, the Board of Directors have come to understand that it is simply not sustainable for us to continue to operate our ICF-ID (Intermediate Care Facility for the Intellectually Disabled). Thus, we will begin to transition clients and eventually cease operation," read a memo sent to staff members, which was obtained by FOX 10.

The 29-year-old victim has been in long-term care since the age of 3 and gave birth at the facility on Dec. 29. Employees said they had no idea she was pregnant. As her guardian, the woman's mother was required to submit an annual report to the court that included results of a medical exam.

Phoenix police arrested 36-year-old Nathan Sutherland, a licensed practitioner nurse, in connection to the rape after they say his DNA matched the baby's.

Sutherland's attorney disputes the DNA findings.

He is currently being held in jail on a $500,000 cash-only bond.