Daniel Cleaves, 28, has pleaded guilty to knowingly exposing two Bethesda, Maryland, women to HIV. Cleaves didn't disclose he had the virus and had unprotected sex with the two women after meeting them at a bar in separate instances.
“This was a course of conduct that placed peoples’ lives at risk,” Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy told WTOP.
In Maryland, it’s a misdemeanor to knowingly infect someone with HIV, but Cleaves pled guilty to two counts of reckless endangerment earlier this month. He was sentenced to 18 months in prison today.
Under Maryland law, an HIV-positive person who engages in acts that could spread the virus has violated the law.
The two victims have not tested positive for the virus, but they will continue testing - it can take months for HIV diagnosis to be made.
“We still don’t know where these women stand in the long term for their personal health,” McCarthy said.
According to court documents, one of the victims discovered Cleaves was HIV positive after finding medical paper in his backpack. He admitted to his positive status through text messages. He allegedly wrote, “I should have told you” and “I am truly sorry, I am not a criminal. I am not a bad person. I just made a mistake.” She said he never offered or asked to use a condom.
Cleaves’s defense attorney said his client was on drugs that reduced his chances of transmitting the virus. Cleaves cried in court and expressed remorse for his actions.