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Tuesday, 13 January 2009

US: Georgia man gets two years for HIV exposure

A 38 year-old man from Macon, Georgia has been jailed for two years and must also serve 200 hours of community service whilst on eight years probation following his release, for having sex with a woman he planned to marry without telling her he was HIV-positive. The woman has not tested HIV-positive.

The details of the case are unusual in that the complainant met the man whilst he was living in housing specifically for people with HIV, which is where they had sex. Yet he didn't disclose his HIV status, and she didn't ask (or look around her). She still called the police when she discovered his status, and since Georgia has HIV-specific HIV disclosure laws, he's paying dearly for his silence. He claims he was going to disclose his status when he married her.

Of course, the Assistant District Attorney Greg Winters asked for a five year prison sentence because...

“This is reckless conduct,” he told the court. “It’s basically playing with a loaded gun, playing Russian roulette.”

Fortunately, this tired cliché didn't wash with the judge who gave a relatively mild sentence - but then since there was only one complainant, who hasn't since tested positive, what exactly was the 'crime' anyway?

HIV-positive man jailed for not disclosing his diagnosis
By Amy Leigh Womack
Tue, Jan. 13, 2009

A 38-year-old Macon man has been sentenced to serve two years in prison and eight years on probation after he pleaded guilty to having sex with a woman while knowing he was HIV positive.

Woodrow Grady Jr. pleaded guilty to reckless conduct by an HIV-infected person Monday in Bibb County Superior Court.

In addition to his prison and probation sentence, Grady also must serve 200 hours of community service.

Grady had sex with a 45-year-old woman on numerous occasions between Jan. 1, 2006, and Dec. 11, 2007, after being diagnosed with HIV in 2003, said Assistant District Attorney Greg Winters.

Winters said Grady and the woman started dating in 2006, but the woman didn’t learn Grady was HIV positive until late 2007.

The couple used protection during sex for the first couple of months, but not for the duration of the relationship, he said.

Winters said Grady and the woman dated until November 2007 when Grady moved to Florida.

While Grady was gone, the woman learned of his HIV positive status and called the police when he returned to Macon in December 2007, he said.

When police arrived, Grady told them he was going to tell the woman about the disease when they got married, he said.

“He admitted he was in fact HIV positive,” Winters said.

The woman has tested negative for HIV during four tests, he said.

Winters asked the judge for a tougher sentence — five years in prison and five years on probation — than the one that was ultimately imposed.

“This is reckless conduct,” he told the court. “It’s basically playing with a loaded gun, playing Russian roulette.”

Grady’s attorney, Walter Lane, said Grady and the woman went to Grady’s home at the Rainbow Center — a Macon housing center for people who are HIV positive — on the day they met and had sex.

“She engaged in risky conduct by having sex with him,” Lane said.

Grady never maliciously intended to infect the woman, Lane said.



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