South Dakota Man Given 120 Days Jail Time for Knowingly Exposing Woman to HIV
August 30, 2002
Nikko Briteramos, 19, was ordered Thursday to spend 120 days in jail for having sex with his girlfriend without revealing that he had HIV. Briteramos, a basketball player at SiTanka-Huron University in Huron, was the first person convicted in South Dakota of intentionally exposing someone to HIV. He could have faced up to 15 years in prison.Adapted from:
Defense lawyer James Koch said Briteramos had been in a monogamous relationship with the victim for several months. The pre-sentence report included a letter from the woman urging the judge not to imprison Briteramos, Koch said.
Circuit Judge Tim Dallas Tucker gave Briteramos a five-year suspended sentence and ordered him to jail for 120 days. Briteramos was further ordered not to have unprotected intercourse without informing sex partners of his HIV status, and to perform 200 hours of community service.
Briteramos, of Chicago, apologized yesterday for his behavior. "I believe I'm capable of much better, and I intend to become a person who helps others," he said.
Officials became alarmed in March when three Beadle County residents, including Briteramos, were diagnosed with HIV. Eventually, 237 people were tested for HIV because some who had tested positive reported multiple sex partners. Briteramos admitted having sex with the woman in his dorm room on April 13. She later tested negative for HIV.
Briteramos apparently was in love with the woman and worried she would leave him if he told her about the infection, the judge said. "This appeared to arise out of a loving relationship," Tucker said, but he added, "You did expose her to HIV. For a person that you love, that's not how you treat them." Briteramos' plea bargain kept the woman, identified only as M.T. in court documents, from having to testify, said Beadle County State's Attorney Mike Moore, who thought the sentence was adequate.
Tucker also ordered Briteramos to continue his education, adding that he would be freed from jail to attend classes and work. Brad Smith, university vice president of operations, said its lawyers will have to sort out Briteramos' legal status. "Given the ruling that education is required, I can't imagine that we would turn our backs on him," Smith said.
08.29.02; Joe Kafka
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.