[Update]US: Charges dropped in Wisconsin ‘HIV exposure’ case

Charges dropped/acquittal

December 17, 2008
Source: South Milwaukeenow.com.

All charges have now been dropped, according to a report from South Milwaukeenow.com. “Prosecutors decided there wasn’t enough evidence to convict X, who admits having HIV but denies having sex with the woman.”


Exclusive: Jailhouse Interview With Teen Accused In HIV Case

April 26, 2008
Source: TMJ4

MILWAUKEE – RX is in jail. He’s charged with reckless endangerment of safety.
X is accused of having sexual contact with a South Milwaukee High School classmate, but not telling her he was HIV positive.

In an exclusive jailhouse interview with TODAY’S TMJ4, X says he is an innocent man. He says he did not have sex with anyone since becoming HIV positive.

“I gave her a kiss on the cheek and she left my house,” X said. “That’s all I did.”

“I’m not a monster walking around with a loaded gun,” X said. “I didn’t have sex with those girls. I don’t partake in that type of activity anymore because of the simple fact I am HIV positive.”

The 18-year-old woman tells a different story. According to a criminal complaint, she had unprotected sex with X three times. She says she didn’t know X had HIV until months later when his aunt told her.

X’s lawyer says this is a case of ‘he said, she said.’ He claims there is no physical evidence.

“Just because someone says it happened doesn’t mean it did,” X said.


Teen charged with not disclosing HIV

April 23, 2008
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

An 18-year-old man accused of having unprotected sex with another teen without telling her that he is infected with HIV was charged Tuesday with second-degree recklessly endangering safety, a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

According to a complaint, RX had unprotected intercourse with an 18-year-old woman three times. X was living in South Milwaukee with his aunt at the time.

X’s aunt told the girl she believed X was HIV positive, and the girl went to South Milwaukee police.

The girl told police she would not have had sex with X if she knew about his medical condition.

In an April 14 phone conversation, a South Milwaukee police officer asked X if he was HIV positive.

“Yes, I am,” Brown replied, according to the complaint.

X said he had known for about 18 months. He denied, however, having sexual intercourse with the young woman.

According to court records filed this month in support of subpoena seeking X’s medical records, a 16-year-old told police at South Milwaukee High School that she had sexual contact, but not intercourse, with X and that he did not tell her about his condition. The same court records indicate that the woman in Tuesday’s complaint is 18.

The 16-year-old was not mentioned in Tuesday’s complaint.

The human immunodeficiency virus is a life-threatening sexually transmitted disease that can lead to the development of AIDS.

X made his initial appearance Tuesday before Court Commissioner Rosa M. Barillas. He is a tall, thin man who appeared all the more lanky dressed in baggy orange jail clothing.

Barillas set a cash bail of $1,000. As conditions of his bail, Barillas ordered X to have no contact with the 18-year-old girl and to advise anyone he has sex with of his medical condition.

According to computerized state court records, X pleaded no contest in 2006 in Racine County to a misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon. Less than a month later, he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charges of theft and receiving stolen property.

He was ordered to serve two years of probation. A condition of the probation was that X enroll in school.

School officials for the South Milwaukee district didn’t respond to requests for interviews Tuesday.

The parent of a sophomore at South Milwaukee High School said he can see why administrators there aren’t eager to comment, given that the sexual acts X has been accused of did not happen on school grounds.

“Something happened, and it’s terrible, but it’s not the school’s problem,” the parent said Tuesday. “The school can’t be the police for these individuals. Everybody looks for someone to blame, but the schools can’t be responsible for that.”


HIV-Positive Student Suspected Of Knowingly Exposing Others

April 11, 2008
Source: WISN.com

MILWAUKEE — A South Milwaukee High School student is under investigation for allegedly having unprotected sex with one of his classmates and not telling her he is HIV positive.

The 18-year-old has not been criminally charged, but investigators have subpoenaed his medical records. According to court documents obtained by 12 News, the man has been HIV positive since at least 2006.

The student had sex with an 18-year-old female student three times last year and had sexual contact with a 16-year-old girl in December, the female students said. The teens told police that they did not know he was HIV positive until the man’s aunt alerted them last month.

In an interview with 12 News’ Brendan Conway, the teen, who remains anonymous due to the fact that he has not yet been charged with anything, said that he did not have sex with the women who are making the claim.

“It’s south Milwaukee,” he told Conway. “Anything to start some drama will start some drama.”

He did, however, admit to keeping his HIV status a secret to nearly everyone, including his family.

Investigators said the student put at least two of his classmates in danger. But the man said there is nothing to the case. He said he kept his HIV status from his family because it’s degrading, but he said he wouldn’t keep it from a girlfriend.

“If I were to be intimate with somebody, they would know because for the simple reason that’s why I got it,” the man said.

According to his aunt, the 18-year-old man lived with her from October until March, and she said she was not aware that he was HIV positive until he moved out. She contacted the girls immediately.

Superintendant David Ewald refused to say what — if anything — the school is doing to warn other students. However, the health department has reported receiving calls from concerned parents and students.

Mike Gifford, the chief operating officer of the AIDS resource center of Wisconsin, said there are more than 400 new cases of HIV infections in Wisconsin each year.

“Clearly, if you are engaging in unprotected sex, you are putting yourself at risk for HIV, and you need to take steps to protect yourself,” Gifford said. “If you have engaged in this behavior, you need to get a test right away.”

The man said that he has not met with police yet, but he said he is willing to speak with them.

Editorial comment

An 18 year-old Wisconsin high school student is being investigated for criminal HIV exposure after his aunt – with whom he had been living for six months, but to whom he had not disclosed his HIV status until he moved out – disclosed his HIV status to two of his former girlfriends, who then went to the police.

His medical records have been subpoenaed, but so far he has not been charged with anything, or even been interviewed by the police.

According to an excellent article at the Wisconsin Lawyer website:

Wisconsin does not have a criminal statute that specifically criminalises HIV exposure through sexual intercourse. Rather, prosecutions can be pursued with charges of reckless endangerment, assault and battery, or even negligent homicide, depending on the circumstances.

The criminal charge in Wisconsin most commonly used by prosecutors in this situation is reckless endangerment. The crime requires proof that the defendant recklessly endangered the safety of another with utter disregard of human life. A prosecutor could argue that an HIV-positive defendant who knowingly engages in unprotected sex is recklessly endangering the safety of the sexual partner. Reckless endangerment is a felony that can carry a prison term of up to 10 years.

This story, published on the ABC news affiliate WISN.com is yet another case of the media publishing accusations before an arrest, but at least this story does not publish the teenager’s name, or other identifying details, unlike a recent case in Scotland, which, I believe, has been referred to the Press Complaints Commission.