A judge in Quebec has remanded a 32 year-old gay man in custody after the Crown prosecutor branded him a "danger to the public" following allegations that he did not disclose that he was HIV-positive with men he met for sex on the internet using the pseudonym bbackbottom31.
The man currently faces four charges relating to sex with two men during a bareback orgy – two aggravated assault charges and two aggravated sexual assault charges – but since his name and photo have appeared in the press along with the usual 'fishing expedition' from police to contact them if they have been in contact with man via the internet or in person, there are bound to be more charges.
In some of the most stigmatising reporting to date of a gay case of non-disclosure in Canada, several articles in Le Journal de Quebec (here and here, in French only) paint the man to be a sexual predator who didn't disclose "to make others pay" and his willing sexual partners to be innocent victims of sexual assault.
The reality of gay sexual mores is not so black and white. He advertised himself as a bareback bottom - and even if he didn't disclose his status, any gay man who chose to have unprotected sex with him should have been aware of the risks (which, as a recent case in British Columbia has shown may not actually reach the 'significant risk' test for disclosure of HIV-positive status).
This arrest and the ensuing publicity is a travesty.
Highlights (if I can call them that) of the two articles in English, using Google translate, are below
HIV positive, he recruited on the web
A public danger
The Crown prosecutor objected to his release given the seriousness of the charges. In all, four charges have been brought so far against this individual, two for aggravated assault and two for aggravated sexual assault. "There are different ways to commit aggravated assault. It can be wounding, maiming, disfiguring or, as is the case in this context, life-threatening danger," said Mr. Gagnon... "He sexually assaulted by not giving information that would have provided free and informed consent and, in parallel to this, he endangered the lives of others."
Victim of a web relationship
A resident of Quebec, [accused's name], 32, faces justice for having unprotected sex with alleged victims met on the internet, whilst he knew he was HIV-positive. Using gay sites to meet with his partners, [he] met at least two victims in recent weeks. Jimmy (not his real name) fell into his trap in the autumn of 2009. Since that time, he believes he had unprotected sex between seven and ten times with the defendant.
"When I met him, he assured me he was clean and safe. I was single in those days. Subsequently, when I had a boyfriend we met for threesomes," said the totally desperate 40 year-old. Jimmy will not know if he has contracted HIV for three months. Meanwhile, he is receiving a preventive treatment that gives him several side effects. His ex-boyfriend is also a complainant in the case.
[The article then says that Jimmy was told that the man was HIV-positive by a nurse when he was visiting him in hospital. When confronted, Jimmy was told it was none of his business. But Jimmy claimed he knew that the man continued to have unprotected sex with men he met on the internet.]
Act of revenge
The defendant frequented sites like Gay411 under the pseudonym bbackbottom31. Investigators believe they may have been other victims. At least two other men were allegedly involved in sexual activities between [the accused] and Jimmy and his partner. "You cannot gamble with the lives of people like that."...The orgy took place at the residence of [the accused], at [his streeet address].
[The final few sentences don't make sense as translated but appear to suggest that Jimmy thinks the accused didn't disclose as an act of revenge.]
Le prévenu faisait croire à ses victimes qu’il était représentant sur la route. [The accused gave the impression of his victims he was representing on the road.] [Il] aurait pu agir par vengeance. [He could have acted out of revenge. Se sachant atteint de la maladie, il aurait décidé d'en faire payer le prix aux autres. [Knowing the disease, he decided to make it pay to others.]