Charges dropped against man accused of criminal transmission of HIV
Charges were dropped Thursday against a man accused of criminal transmission of the HIV virus.
The case against JA, a personal trainer from Wilmette, stemmed from claims from three women that he had unprotected sex with them without revealing he has the virus that causes AIDS, according to authorities.
If he’d been taken to trial and convicted, A, 45, could have faced seven years in prison for each of the three felony counts.
But during a pretrial hearing in Cook County’s Skokie courthouse Thursday, prosecutors said they were dropping the charges against A. They did not outline the reasons for the reversal, but a spokesperson for Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx later released a statement: “After consulting with medical experts, we concluded that the evidence in this case was insufficient to prove the criminal charges.”
A’s lawyer said the state could not prove his client’s intention was to transmit the virus.
Defense attorney Jon Erickson said A was taking medication to treat his HIV, a treatment that significantly reduces the chances of passing the virus to a sexual partner. A, his lawyer said, “did everything possible to prevent transmission” of the disease.
“The state in its wisdom … did the right thing,” Erickson said. “Mr. A did not intend to infect anyone.”
When A was charged last year, prosecutors alleged that he repeatedly had unprotected sex with the women, all former clients, and when confronted denied having the virus.
Whether the women actually were infected is unclear. A person can be found guilty of criminal transmission of HIV even if the sexual partner was not infected. The law only requires that the person “engages in sexual activity with another without the use of a condom knowing that he or she is infected with HIV” and that the person intended to transmit the virus.
Outside the courtroom on Thursday, A, the father of a young son, said, “I thank God that my name has been cleared.”
North Shore personal trainer pleads not guilty to knowingly passing on HIV
A personal trainer from Wilmette pleaded not guilty in Cook County court Tuesday to charges he knowingly transmitted HIV to three women he dated.
Prosecutors have said JA, 46, denied having the virus when he was charged in October with criminal transmission of HIV, though they allege he was diagnosed as early as 2001. They said he had unprotected sex with three women, all clients.
During a brief arraignment at the Skokie courthouse Tuesday, A pleaded not guilty to the felony charges. He is free on bond and is scheduled for a Jan. 19 preliminary hearing.
Prosecutors on Tuesday subpoenaed A’s medical records as well as those of the three alleged victims. Authorities said A worked as a personal trainer for all three women between April 2015 and his arrest in October and that he had dated each of the women.
Prosecutors on Tuesday also asked the judge to keep in place a condition of A’s bond that bars him from contacting any of the alleged victims.
“I take violations of bail bond, especially contact with victims, very seriously,” Judge Lauren Edidin told A.
His defense attorney, Jon Erickson, said the law requires that prosecutors prove that his client intended to transmit HIV.
Erickson also said A, who has a 5-year-old son, had been taking retrovirus medication that made it nearly impossible for him to transmit the virus that causes AIDS.
“There’s the elimination of intent,” Erickson said after the court hearing.
A personal trainer from north suburban Wilmette was ordered held on $150,000 bail Saturday after authorities accused him of knowingly transmitting the HIV virus to three women he dated.
In court, Cook County prosecutors alleged that JA, 46, repeatedly had unprotected sex with all three women, but when confronted denied having the virus despite being diagnosed as early as December 2001.
A, of Wilmette, was charged with three counts of criminal transmission of HIV, a Class 2 felony. Cook County Judge Laura M. Sullivan ordered him held and barred him from contacting any of the victims.
Prosecutors said that A worked as a personal trainer for all three women between April 2015 and this year, eventually starting monthslong dating relationships with each.
A’s defense attorney said that his client, father of a 5-year-old son, had been taking retroviral medication that made it nearly impossible for him to transmit the virus that causes AIDS.
A returns to court next week. If convicted, A faces three to seven years in prison for each charge.