Indicted Janitor Spread Herpes via Water Bottles, Lawsuit Alleges
A Texas janitor is facing years in prison after he allegedly was caught on hidden camera rubbing his penis on water bottles, giving more than a dozen workers in the same building "incurable sexually transmitted diseases."
A lawsuit filed in Harris County alleges 13 women contracted "sexually transmitted diseases" in 2022 after Lucio Diaz, 50, a janitor at an east Houston office building, intentionally contaminated water bottles.
Diaz was arrested in October 2022 and charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, a second-degree felony, after four infected women came forward; now a total of 13 women claim they were infected.
In August 2022, there were "several instances" where women employed at the office building noticed the bottled water was "smelling and tasting foul, similar to that of urine," according to a news release from one of the Houston law firms representing the women.
The law firm, Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner, claims Diaz's "bodily fluids containing herpes simplex 1 virus" was the deadly weapon.
Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs). An estimated two-thirds of the world's population younger than 50 years old has HSV-1, knowingly or unknowingly. HSV-1 is typically referred to as oral herpes, mainly transmitted by oral-to-oral contact, while HSV-2 is known as genital herpes and can be contracted through vaginal, anal or oral sex with someone who has the virus.
Common symptoms of oral herpes are mild to moderate cold sores or fever blisters in or around the mouth, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There are a number of ways to treat the symptoms of HSV-1, but as of 2023, it remains an incurable STI.
After enduring weeks of foul-smelling water, one of the women purchased a hidden camera. The recording allegedly showed the nighttime janitor "approach the woman's desk, set his cleaning supplies down, and begin to rub his penis on the interior and mouth of a water bottle sitting on the desk [turning it upwards to ensure he touched the water]," the release states.
The video showed the custodial worker set the bottle back on the desk before returning to his cleaning duties, the lawsuit claims.
When the woman presented the incriminating footage to the building's management team, she claimed her concerns and the disturbing footage were disregarded. The management company "assured her that they would handle the situation" and promised to notify other tenants, but the plaintiff alleges the other tenants were not notified.
"No such notification was given, and later that evening, the woman's hidden camera captured Mr. Diaz doing the exact same thing," the release stated.
Diaz wasn't arrested until several days after the woman notified building management of his alleged dirty deeds.
One of the infected women called Diaz a "monster," Fox 26 in Houston reported, explaining in a statement the STI has caused considerable emotional turmoil at home.
As of Jan. 30, Diaz is being held on $75,000 bond at the Harris County jail. His trial date is scheduled in March. If convicted, Diaz could face up to 20 years behind bars.