Judge Theodore Campagnolo approved the settlement against a doctor in a lawsuit from the woman’s parents after deeming it reasonable last week, according to the Associated Press. The settlement was made on behalf of Dr. Phillip Gear, who had cared for the woman for 26 years at the Hacienda Healthcare facility in Phoenix, Arizona.
By approving the settlement, which is the largest known settlement to have been reached over the assault, Campagnolo “concluded Gear’s treatment of the woman had fallen below the standard of care by failing to diagnose her pregnancy and regularly examine her.”
Gear died in December. Per this week’s report on the settlement, Gear’s insurer has argued they don’t have an obligation to pay because the policy didn’t include “claims arising from a sexual act.”
In January of last year, Hacienda HealthCare announced that it would keep its Medicaid contract under specific conditions following a settlement with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who had previously said it would terminate the contract.
In reports at the time, the facility was said to have not met health and safety requirements in the aforementioned case and another case involving a patient who was found with maggots.
Nathan Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse, was arrested and charged with sexual assault and vulnerable adult abuse in January of 2019 after a DNA sample showed him to be a match to the baby born one month earlier. In May of this year, a judge rejected Sutherland’s attempt at tossing out DNA evidence.
The 29-year-old victim had been incapacitated since the age of three. Though previous reports from 2019 described the woman’s condition as “vegetative,” the family later said in a statement to the AP that the woman was intellectually disabled due to early childhood seizures and doesn’t speak but has limited mobility.