LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) _ A woman in a years-long coma who gave birth to a baby last fall was raped by a registered nurse's aide who worked at her nursing home since 1995, authorities say.

Israel Moret, 37, of Lawrence was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of raping the 24-year-old patient at Town Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Nursing home workers only discovered the rape in October when they realized the woman was pregnant. She gave birth to a baby girl on Oct. 23 _ 14 weeks premature.

Prosecutors said Moret was implicated by DNA tests. He was fired Tuesday and was arraigned today on charges of rape and abuse of a patient in a long-term care facility. He pleaded innocent and bail was set at $100,000.

Town Manor is one of 35 nursing homes in Massachusetts managed by Sunrise, a nationwide company based in New Mexico.

``We are shocked and dismayed that an employee has been implicated,'' the company said in a statement released Tuesday.

The victim, formerly of Londonderry, N.H., has been in a drug-induced coma since 1995. Authorities have not released her name and she was moved to another, undisclosed facility in Lawrence.

Her baby, a girl born 14 weeks premature, apparently suffered brain damage and was in critical condition Tuesday at New England Medical Center's Floating Hospital for Children in Boston.

The woman's parents are seeking legal guardianship of their daughter and custody of her baby. A hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

The woman, who authorities have not identified because she is a rape victim, is being treated at another, undisclosed facility in Lawrence.

Moret has a clean record and has never had a patient file a complaint against him, state Department of Public Health spokesman Mark Leccese said.

The department has given Town Manor the highest possible score after unannounced inspections over the past two years.

Mark O'Flaherty, Town Manor's administrator, said the nursing home plans to contact other patients' families to discuss their concerns.

In Rochester, N.Y., a 29-year-old woman in a comalike state was raped in 1995 by a nurse's aide and gave birth to a boy. The aide was convicted of rape and is still in prison.