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50-Year Sentence in Iowa HIV Criminalization Case Upheld by Federal Judge

April 18, 2012

A federal judge upheld a 50-year sentence for Adam Musser, an Iowa man living with HIV who was found guilty of having unprotected sex with several female partners.

The Associated Press reported:

After the Iowa Supreme Court upheld his conviction and sentence, he appealed to federal court.

[U.S. District Judge James] Gritzner says Musser's 50-year prison term was reasonable, noting he repeatedly subjected women to health risks. He says Musser's rights were not violated.

Musser was originally convicted in 2003. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on the original case:

Three of the complainants came forward after learning about Musser's arrest from news reports. One of the complainants, who tested HIV positive after having sexual contact with Musser, appeared on a local television program encouraging other women who may have slept with Musser to come forward and press charges.

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Reader Comments:

Comment by: terri (sc) Mon., Apr. 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm EDT
I totally agree. Sort of in the same situation right now myself. long story short, my ex partner was defintely seeing other women before he got with me in jan and i cant say that during our 50 days of on/off again sex that he saw exclusively me but right now im the target because of my known status. unfortunately being hiv poz you have to have not only a living will but a retainier for a good attorney just in case. it really comes down to can they actually say it was you if the other party was sleeping with various others, or if you told them but they lie and say you didnt. how do you argue that?
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Comment by: John (TX) Thu., Apr. 19, 2012 at 4:46 pm EDT
While I agree that it is the responsibility of someone that is poz to notify and partner, it is also the responsibility of the partner to take precautions themselves.
The main concern over notification statutes is that it becomes one person's word against the other.
Say a person informs a partner they are poz, they have protected sex and nothing is transmitted.
A couple weeks later, that partner has unprotected sex with someone that is also poz but did not disclose. They become infected and out of anger (common reaction to infection) blame the partner that did disclose and then lie about protection being used.
How does law enforcement prove their case? And in the mean time, the person that did the right thing in disclosing is dragged thru this legal process because they are presumed guilty simply by their status.
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