Police Officer Convicted of Knowingly Exposing Woman to HIV Through Unprotected Sex
A Franklin County, Ohio, Municipal Court jury on Tuesday found Richard Thorpe, an HIV-positive Columbus police officer, guilty on 12 counts of "spreading a contagion" -- which is a second-degree misdemeanor -- for engaging in unprotected sex without notifying his partner that he was HIV-positive, the Columbus Dispatch reports (Doulin, Columbus Dispatch, 6/12). Jane Burris sued Thorpe in March after his criminal trial ended in a mistrial in November. At that trial, she testified that the two had engaged in consensual, unprotected sex a dozen times, including while Thorpe was on duty, after meeting in 1998. However, Burris said that she was unaware at the time that Thorpe had HIV and learned of his positive status in the spring of 2000 from his live-in girlfriend. According to his attorney, Thorpe was infected with HIV on the job in 1999 after a drug user bit him. Thorpe said he learned that he had HIV in August 1999. He said that he informed Burris of his condition shortly after getting his test results and the two used condoms (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 3/1). The jury found Thorpe guilty on all 12 counts, and Thorpe could face up to three years in jail. Burris is HIV-negative; however, Thorpe's wife is HIV-positive (Columbus Dispatch, 6/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.