HIV carrier guilty of sexual assault
An HIV-positive man, who believed he was the Messiah and had "sweated out" his illness, was found guilty of aggravated sexual assault yesterday.
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.