Gay man charged with misdemeanor of spreading HIVAround the City, Online Only, Top Highlights Friday, August 29th, 2014
SAN DIEGO — A 29-year-old gay man has been charged with a misdemeanor case of spreading HIV to his former boyfriend in a case filed by the San Diego City Attorney’s office after the case was rejected by District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.
Attorney James Fitzpatrick appeared Aug. 28 for Thomas Miguel Guerra, who is free on $2,500 bond and living with his family in central California. Guerra has previously pleaded not guilty.
The single health and safety code violation alleges Guerra unlawfully exposed his partner to a contagious or communicable disease. If convicted, Guerra could be sentenced to six months in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
The former boyfriend of Guerra approached KGTV Channel 10 and did an interview in which his voice was altered and his face was hidden. The ex-boyfriend says he is now HIV positive.
“I honestly feel like I’m living some crazy Lifetime movie,” said the ex-boyfriend in the KGTV story. “I don’t even know who I was living with. I don’t know who I had fallen in love with.”
The ex-boyfriend contended his exposure to HIV may have been deliberate and there could be other victims, maybe dozens, who could have contracted the AIDS virus from Guerra.
Says Fitzpatrick, Guerra’s attorney: “What the guy is saying is patently false. We’re adamantly denying any of this is true.” Fitzpatrick said it was the ex-boyfriend who stalked Guerra after they broke up, causing Guerra to change his phone number and move away.
Fitzpatrick said the KGTV story is “sensationalized.”
The KGTV story suggests that more charges will be filed on Tuesday and some counts could be felonies. This is incorrect. The City Attorney can only file misdemeanors, and the City Attorney’s office said an amended complaint of the same charge is being reworded.
City Attorney spokesman Michael Giorgino said Aug. 28 the lone charge’s wording will be changed on Tuesday to insert HIV into the charge as the disease is not specifically mentioned and the first name of the victim will be listed.
San Diego Superior Court Judge Dan Link ordered Guerra to be in court Sept. 2 as he must be arraigned on the charge with the new wording. The hearing will be brief.
The ex-boyfriend went to police when he learned he was HIV positive, and they submitted a report to the District Attorney’s office. Giorgino said the DA’s office rejected the case and sent it to the City Attorney. Giorgino said they investigated it further and sent it back to Dumanis, who then returned it to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, and the charge was filed in May.
A city prosecutor sought a $10,000 bail for Guerra, but a judge set bail at $2,500 which Guerra posted. There is a protective order that bars Guerra from contacting the alleged victim.
The KGTV story cited text messages from Guerra and other alleged statements, but Fitzpatrick said that none of it is in court evidence yet. Fitzpatrick said some of the materials appear to come from police reports that the ex-boyfriend is “not authorized to have.”
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