A trial is expected to wrap up today for a member of the U.S. Air Force who is charged with 10 counts of aggravated assault. Each count stems from a sexual partner that has accused the man, Tech. Sgt. David Gutierrez, of not informing them that he was HIV positive before they engaged in sex.
Gutierrez was diagnosed with HIV in 2007 while stationed in Italy. The Air Force became aware of Gutierrez’s alleged sexual activities, and potential criminal activity, when his wife shared information that she was worried about the wellbeing of his sexual partners.
At that point, Gutierrez’s boss served him a letter that instructed him to use condoms and alert his sexual partners to his HIV before having sex. Gutierrez signed the letter. According to opening arguments in the case, the Air Force took this proactive approach because it has a legitimate interest to protect the community from life-threatening diseases that could be spread by Air Force personnel.
In addition to the aggravated assault charges, Gutierrez could also be convicted of one count of violating an order to practice safe sex and disclose his status to partners, one count of indecent acts and nine counts of adultery. If convicted on all charges, Gutierrez could spend 53 years in prison.
Thankfully, none of Gutierrez’s sexual partners has tested positive for HIV.
Various news sources report that the couple openly engaged in the swinger scene, swapping partners on many occasions. When Gutierrez’s computers were confiscated, military authorities discovered he had been in touch with about 500 potential sexual contacts on adult websites – including one dubbed “The Facebook of Sex.”
Testimony during the trial indicated that Gutierrez’s wife was equally complicit while engaging in the swinger scene. She apparently joked about opening a bed and breakfast for swingers, and she taped some of her husband’s sexual encounters. However, she is not facing any charges at this time. This author surmises she is not in legal trouble because she came forward to call out her husband.
Trial testimony indicated that the Gutierrezes met couples at places such as Burger King, Applebee’s and bars before engaging in sexual activity. Several women said they had no reason to believe Gutierrez was lying about his HIV, and that they trusted him because he was in the military. His wife is also reportedly a registered nurse.
Several women said Gutierrez flatly denied having an STD or HIV. Unsurprisingly, the women also said they would not have had sex with him if they were aware of the HIV.
Gutierrez has been in custody at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita, Kan., since Aug. 9. He served there with the 22nd Maintenance Operations Squadron. He is represented by two military lawyers, and a verdict in the military trial should come shortly.
Update – Jan. 20, 2011
The Associated Press reported this morning that Gutierrez was found guilty on seven of the eight counts or sexual assault, and he will spend up to eight years in prison.
The military judge also ordered Gutierrez to be dishonorably discharged, which will cause him to lose the military medical benefits he tearfully begged to keep. Drugs for HIV can cost up to $30,000 a year and Gutierrez will have a limited income while he serves his prison time.
Gutierrez was also found guilty of other charges, including the violation of his commander’s order to notify sex partners about his HIV and use condoms. He was also found guilty of adultery (even though his wife was also complicit in the swinging scene), and for taking part in indecent acts (having sex in front of others).