Nursing assistant arrested for alleged sexual assault in Mission Hills hospital
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, a woman filed a report alleging she was the victim of a sexual assault after she was molested by the suspect at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center.
Authorities say certified nursing assistant Jeremias Diego entered the 43-year-old victim's room around 4 a.m. Monday, removed the woman's garments and touched her inappropriately under the bed covers. The incident occurred when Diego was doing his regular round-the-clock rounds of checking patients' vital signs.
The woman awoke her sister who was visiting her in the hospital and lay asleep nearby in the darkened room. The two of them reported the behavior to nurses, who then called police.
During the subsequent investigation, detectives learned another complaint against Diego was made by a female patient a week prior from the incident.
"After conducting several interviews, we now believe Diego may have done this to other patients as well," said LAPD Detective Michael Brox.
According to Brox, the hospital is cooperating with authorities.
"I believe that they did what they had to do as Holy Cross Hospital," said Brox. "Perhaps it could have been reported to us earlier, but sometimes things are lost in translation between staff and patients."
"All of our staff members are trained to report any serious complaints to their supervisors," Providence Holy Cross Medical Center said in a statement. "We take this very seriously and are conducting a thorough internal investigation."
Diego, a Thousand Oaks resident, had worked as a floating nursing assistant at Holy Cross since April, and had previously worked at the Los Robles Care Center in Ojai, Calif.
The suspect has been charged with two counts of sexual battery, and his bail was set at $40,000. He is scheduled to appear in court on Friday.
"We're almost all like children when we're in the hospital, because you're there trusting as a child, and you're hoping that the medical treatment that you get, or the people who are giving the medical treatment treat you with the utmost respect and dignity, and in this case, not only was this disrespect, this was criminal in nature," said LAPD Detective Michael Brox. "There are certain things that make people uncomfortable and if someone out there was uncomfortable, if things simply were not done properly, let us know."
Anyone with information is urged to call Detective Brox of Mission Sex Crimes Unit at (818) 838-9902. Anonymous tips can be called into Crimestoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.