Ex-CEO of Ariz. Facility, Where Woman in Vegetative State Gave Birth, Allegedly Sexually Harassed Staff

Bill Timmons, the former Hacienda HealthCare CEO who resigned after a patient in a vegetative state gave birth, had been accused of sexual harassment and poor treatment by employees since 2006, according to multiple reports.

The Arizona facility confirmed Timmons faced “serious consequences” due to the accusations, according to a statement from the chairman of the board, Tom Pomeroy, obtained by PEOPLE on Friday.

However, Timmons was ultimately allowed to keep his position as CEO.

“Bill Timmons served as the CEO of Hacienda Healthcare for nearly 30 years. Beginning in 2006 and again in subsequent years, the Hacienda Board of Directors in place at the time was alerted to accusations that several employees felt sexually harassed or treated poorly by Timmons,” the statement read.

A spokesperson for Timmons did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.

“The Board reprimanded Timmons and also enforced serious consequences for his conduct. According to Board members in office at the time, corrective action included counseling and more than 30 training sessions in a number of areas. Timmons was also forced to forego financial bonuses and raises,” the statement continued.

As for why Timmons was not fired when the allegations were first brought to the board, Pomeroy explained that his departure at the time was not “simple.”

“While in hindsight it may appear to be an easy call, it was not that simple in the moment. While Timmons attracted controversy and detractors, his years-long advocacy for Hacienda’s clients and their families helped fuel the growth of the company and increase its ability to change lives for the better,” the statement said.

Hacienda HealthCare operates the long-term care facility for the developmentally disabled where the 29-year-old incapacitated woman gave birth to a baby boy on Dec. 29.

Days after the child was born, prompting a criminal investigation and growing concern from other patients’ families, Timmons quit.

His resignation was “accepted unanimously” by the board of directors, company spokesman David Leibowitz said, according to KPHO. Hacienda “will accept nothing less than a full accounting of this absolutely horrifying situation, an unprecedented case that has devastated everyone involved, from the victim and her family to Hacienda staff at every level of our organization,” said Gary Orman, executive vice president of the board.

Nathan Sutherland, a licensed practical nurse in charge of the facility wing where the victim resided, was arrested Tuesday and charged with one count of sexual assault and one count of vulnerable adult abuse.

Sutherland was fired by Hacienda HealthCare in Phoenix after his arrest. On Friday, he voluntarily surrendered his license to the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

Days before, on Wednesday, the defense attorney for Sutherland said there is “no direct evidence” his client is to blame. David Gregan told the judge that his client had no criminal record and deserved a low bond amount that would let him be set free from jail while the investigation proceeds, according to The Associated Press.

“There’s no direct evidence that Mr. Sutherland has committed these acts,” Gregan said, according to the AP. “I know at this point there’s DNA. But he will have a right to his own DNA expert.”

PEOPLE confirmed the judge denied Gregan’s request to reduce Sutherland’s $500,000 cash-only bond, and he remains in Maricopa County jail.

Gregan, who has declined additional media requests following his court statements, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

Hacienda HealthCare hired former Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley to lead an internal investigation into the “facts and circumstances” surrounding the birth of the baby as the result of a sexual assault.

Source: Read Full Article