HIV positive man spread virus, jailed 8 months
An HIV positive man with a mental illness was sent to jail yesterday for knowingly spreading the virus that causes AIDS.
“I’ll be okay,” Ryan Handy, 26, told his psychiatrist from the prisoner’s box before he was led away by court security officers.
Handy was convicted in November. He had testified he had a major mental illness and believed he had sweated out the virus. He also said that at one point he believed he was a messiah.
In February 2005, Handy met a 55-year-old gay man, whose identity is protected by court order, in a gay Internet chat room. They had two unprotected sexual encounters, even though Handy was obligated to tell the man his HIV status. Hours after the second encounter, Handy said, he called the man and told him he had the virus. He testified he believed he was HIV negative, but had a moment of clarity while walking home from the man’s house and understood he had the virus. Three years later, the man remains HIV negative.
Justice William Jenkins called the case “unusual. . . because you suffered from a mental illness that affected your judgment and because you have expressed genuine remorse.” Handy has schizoid-affective disorder with symptoms that include “mood instability, delusions of grandeur, promiscuity, impaired reality testing, promiscuity and substance abuse.”
Jenkins noted Handy has had difficulty complying with his medical advice and needs close monitoring. “If you take your medication (his doctors) believe you will not be a danger to yourself or to others,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins said he believed that because the complainant was much older, Handy was afraid to tell him he was HIV positive. And his use of marijuana the evening of the offence “aggravated your mental condition.”
“You selfishly and recklessly had unprotected sex with (the man) and exposed him to a deadly virus,” the judge said. Jenkins said it was “essential that others who are HIV positive understand that if they fail to disclose their condition and engage in unprotected sex with men or women who are not infected, they will go to jail.”
He said he couldn’t agree to a conditional sentence the defence had requested, but called the three-year jail term requested by the Crown as “crushing.” He decided on the shorter eight-month jail sentence.
Handy was also given a two- year probation order with conditions that include continuing his treatment for mental illness, no illegal drugs, disclosing his HIV status to all sex partners and no unprotected sex.
He was also ordered to provide a DNA sample, prohibited from having weapons for 10 years and had his name added to a sex offender registry for life.
HIV carrier guilty of sexual assault
Ryan Handy, 25, had pleaded not guilty in court in London for knowingly spreading the virus when he had unprotected sex with a 52-year-old man in February 2005.
Superior Court Justice William Jenkins said while he believed Handy suffered from a mental illness, the disorder “did not render him incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of his conduct or the fact his conduct was wrong.
“I am satisfied he knew when he had unprotected sex with (the man) that he was HIV-positive and that it was wrong to have unprotected sex with him,” Jenkins said.
At Handy’s trial earlier this year, the victim, whose identity is protected by court order, said he hadn’t tested positive for the disease since his exposure to Handy.
Handy and the man met in a gay chat room on the Internet.
Handy has a long, troubled history with depression and has been diagnosed bipolar.
His depression was exacerbated by use of illegal drugs. Originally from Chatham, he lived with a man in Toronto who exposed him to HIV.
In late 2004, his condition worsened and he suffered delusions. He was living in Chatham and receiving treatment but eventually, after a hospital admission, was transferred to London.
Handy believed he was the Messiah and could heal himself. He wrote a letter to TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey, telling her Jesus was writing her through him.
After his release from hospital, he had his sexual encounters with the man.
After seeing a form for blood work on the wall of the man’s home, Handy surmised the man was HIV-positive and had sex with him.
They met again for a walk in Port Stanley and had dinner, when the man told Handy he was HIV-negative.
Handy told him he hadn’t been tested recently, even though his last test had been two months before and showed he was still HIV-positive.
After smoking marijuana and watching the movie Dune, they had unprotected sex.
The next day, walking home, Handy realized he wasn’t the Messiah and was HIV-positive. He said he felt like a predator.
His psychiatrist testified Handy’s use of marijuana when with the man intensified his psychotic behaviour. He was cut off from medication and watching a fantasy movie, further causing delusional beliefs he was cured.
Jenkins pointed to an e-mail Handy wrote the man that said “I know what I did was wrong, terribly wrong. I think I must be an evil person for lying to you . . .”
Sentencing is set for Jan. 18.
HIV accused claims mental breakdown
An HIV-positive man told a judge yesterday he thought he was the Messiah and had “sweated out” his AIDS-related infection during a mental breakdown months before an unprotected sexual encounter.
Ryan Handy, 25, said he didn’t lie to a 52-year-old man when he didn’t disclose his medical status before they had unprotected sex twice.
Instead, he said, he was delusional and believed he’d be able to heal the world.
Handy has pleaded not guilty to aggravated sexual assault in connection with the sexual encounters in January 2005 with a man he met in a gay chat room.
Handy explained in detail his descent into madness under questions from his lawyer, Craig McLean.
He told Superior Court Justice William Jenkins he was first depressed when he was eight and fell into a deep depression at about 16.
He moved to London at the end of Grade 10 from Chatham-Kent but was unable to maintain his schooling.
He eventually moved to Toronto, where he met a boyfriend at a bath house who told him he was infection-free. They moved in together but Handy said he was always suspicious of medications stored in the refrigerator.
The man was a drug addict and Handy became addicted to cocaine, ecstacy and crystal meth.
Six months into the relationship, Handy was tested and was found to be HIV-positive. His boyfriend disclosed he was infected, too.
After a stint in drug rehabilitation, he returned to the boyfriend, but eventually came back to London. He was also diagnosed with a major mental illness.
In 2004, Handy tried to work, but his mental illness and his problems with medications made his life harder.
After a mental breakdown, he began to believe he had sweated out his illness in the hospital and was the messiah.
“I began to believe I could heal the entire world.”
Even after a test showed he was still HIV-positive, he didn’t believe it.
When he met the man in the chat room, Handy had isolated himself for a month. They met the same day they talked on the computer and had sex.
They never talked about their HIV status, Handy said.
He saw a medical form for blood work in the man’s apartment and thought it meant he had the virus.
Handy thought he could heal him but never told him.
The man told him he was HIV-negative and Handy said he hadn’t been tested for a while.
They had sex again.
On his walk home, Handy said he “freaked” after he believed he saw blood on his hands. He realized he wasn’t the messiah, but “a predator.”
The trial continues today.