A nurse who was allegedly assaulted by a man with a history of violence after he was dropped off at the ValleyCare Medical Center is suing the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office for not warning hospital staff and putting her in harm’s way.
Police say Elias Michael Diamond, 45, of Oakland, sexually assaulted the Pleasanton facility’s nurse, who is as yet unidentified, in the middle of the night last September. The nurse has since returned to work.
The victim’s attorney Nathaniel Leeds wants to know why sheriff’s deputies didn't warn anyone about the man’s deadly past. But a spokesman for the sheriff’s office says that would have been illegal.
"Mr. Diamond attacked her in a fairly sexual way," Leeds said.
Diamond was transported from Santa Rita Jail to the hospital, authorities said. He had been arrested the week before for indecent exposure.
"Nobody was ever alerted to the fact that this was somebody who had been acting out sexually before or that this was somebody who had a significant violent history," Leeds said.
Leeds is referring to Diamond’s arrest in 2004 for killing a roommate and slashing another at a psychiatric home. The man’s violent history was not shared with hospital staff when he was dropped off, two days before the assault occurred, for treatment for unspecified injuries.
"This was somebody who should've been guarded," Leeds said.
But Alameda County Sheriff’s spokesman J.D. Nelson didn’t agree.
"[Diamond had] actually been out of our custody for two days," he said.
Not only was Diamond no longer under arrest when he was dropped off at the hospital, but the indecent exposure case was only a misdemeanor, Nelson said.
"Quite honestly, with all the realignment and different propositions, a lot of misdemeanors now get released out of the jail," he said.
And warning ValleyCare Medical staff about Diamond’s violent past would have broken the law, Nelson said.
"Just as we don't release people out of our jail, they get on a bus, we don’t tell people on the bus, ‘Oh by the way, this guy was in on this charge and has this medical history,’" Nelson said. "We don't do that because the inmates have their privacy rights as well."
The lawsuit filed on behalf of the nurse asks the Sheriff’s Office for unspecified monetary damages. But Leeds hopes it will achieve much more.
"It helps to highlight the issue, it helps to raise concern about this issue, it helps to make sure this doesn't happen to anybody else," he stressed.
NBC Bay Area's Rhea Mahbubani contributed to this report.