San Diego man who knowingly spread HIV sentenced to 6 months

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It was an emotional day in a San Diego courtroom Monday after a man was sentenced to jail for knowingly infecting his male partner with HIV. (KABC)

It was an emotional day in a San Diego courtroom Monday after a man was sentenced to jail for knowingly infecting his male partner with HIV.

Thomas Guerra, 30, spoke out in court, as did the judge, who was outraged over his actions.

Prosecutors said Guerra sent more than 11,000 text messages laughing about intentionally spreading HIV to unknowing partners. They said he told a man he met on the gay dating app Grindr that he was HIV negative when he knew he was positive.

But Guerra blamed the victim.

"He did not take responsibility for his actions. I did not rape this person," he said. "I did not take him against his will. Within five minutes of Grinder text messaging, he was there. If you're that reckless with your life, how can you blame anyone else for your actions?"

Judge Katherine Lewis said there is no question in her mind that he spread the disease knowingly.

"The fact that you come to court and say you're not responsible for your conduct...I don't think in my career of 25 years that I've seen even someone who's been convicted of murder be so lacking of insight or blame or responsibility," she said.

San Diego's City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said he hopes the case will help educate people that have a legal obligation to inform their partners of their HIV status.

The judge sentence Guerra to the maximum allowable sentence of six months. She added that it is a "travesty" that his sentence is so short, and she believes it is an oversight in the law that this crime is considered a misdemeanor and not a felony.

Related Topics:
HIVAIDScourtSan Diego County
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