UNION CITY (CBS SF) — The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office and the Union City and Livermore police departments voiced strong criticism Thursday of a judge’s decision to release without bail a suspect who’s accused of assaulting two women in 1997 in a case that wasn’t solved until last year.

Last Friday, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon, a veteran judge who formerly was a prosecutor, granted Gregory Paul Vien, 61, of Livermore, a reduction of his bail from $2.5 million to zero.

READ MORE: French Bulldog Stolen At Gunpoint Returned To Castro Valley Family

Defense attorney Melissa Adams said Reardon issued that ruling after she filed a motion to reduce Vien’s bail because his health issues make it unsafe for him to remain at Santa Rita Jail in Dublin because of the risk he might be infected by the coronavirus if he remains there.

RELATED: Livermore Cold Case Rape Suspect Released From Custody

Adams said she believes Vien has risk factors that health officials say make some people more likely to die if they contract the virus.

Reardon agreed to reduce Vien’s bail and release him but also required him to wear an ankle monitor and not to leave his home except to go to court or to meet with his attorneys.

Vien, a maintenance worker, was charged last November with three counts of sexual penetration by a foreign object and two counts of forcible oral copulation for allegedly sexually assaulting a 41-year-old woman in Union City on May 6, 1997, and a 22-year-old woman in Livermore on Sept. 15, 1997.

READ MORE: Big Sur ‘Colorado’ Fire Sparked By Pile Burning Operation, 50% Contained

DNA samples from a plastic Baskin-Robbins ice cream spoon that Vien discarded in Livermore that summer finally connected him to the two
cases, authorities said.

In announcing the charges, District Attorney Nancy O’Malley alleged that Vien attacked the 41-year-old woman in Union City as she walked
to BART after work and dragged her to a secluded area, where he sexually assaulted her.

O’Malley alleged that Vien attacked the 22-year-old woman while she was on a walk near Livermore High School and sexually assaulted her.

In a statement this week, O’Malley said, “We argued vehemently against his release, and we are strongly opposed to releasing people charged with serious and violent felonies such as rape and sexual assault.”

Union police also issued a statement of their strong objections.

“Union City PD was shocked to learn that Alameda County Superior Court Judge Thomas Reardon recently released suspect Gregory Vien from jail over alleged Coronavirus exposure concerns,” the agency said in a statement. “In this case, Judge Thomas Reardon reduced the bail for suspect Gregory Vien from $2.5 million dollars to $0, effectively releasing the suspected serial rapist back into the community.”

MORE NEWS: Experts: Emerging Omicron Subvariant Shouldn't Delay Lull In COVID Pandemic

Union City police said they are releasing information about Vien’s status to the community to “let you know that we, like Livermore police and the District Attorney’s Office, do not support this decision and feel it places our communities at greater risk.”