March 27, 2003
A 36-year-old Aberdeen, S.D., man was sentenced to 45 days in jail and five years probation Tuesday for intentionally exposing another person to HIV/AIDS. William K. Jenigen maintained his innocence in court last month. Circuit Judge Eugene Dobberpuhl said Jenigen's actions put innocent people in danger, but Dobberpuhl said South Dakota's HIV exposure law was passed to protect, rather than punish. "At this point I cannot find it in my heart to be harsh," said Dobberpuhl. He gave Jenigen a suspended imposition of sentence, whereby Jenigen can avoid a prison term if he follows the court's conditions for the next five years. In South Dakota, intentional HIV exposure carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in the state penitentiary and a $15,000 fine. "I am here today to take responsibility for my actions," Jenigen told the judge, "I'm truly sorry, I'm truly sorry for this mess." He received credit for the 17 days he already served in jail.