Wednesday, January 19, 2011
A McConnell Air Force sergeant convicted of exposing multiple sex partners to HIV at swinger parties has been sentenced
to eight years in military prison and will be dishonorably discharged.
A court martial judge found Tech. Sgt. David Gutierrez guilty
Wednesday of aggravated assault and violating his commander's order
to notify partners about his HIV status and use condoms.
Lt. Col. William Muldoon delivered the sentence after a brief
Gutierrez said in court Wednesday that he thanks
God every day none of his sexual partners contracted the disease.
He told a court-martial judge that the possibility of a future
without government assistance to pay for his medical care "scares
him to the core."
The 43-year-old sergeant says he's willing to spend more time in
jail rather than lose the benefits.
The prosecution called Dr. Donna Sweet to the stand this morning. Dr. Sweet is an expert on HIV and AIDS with the University of Kansas School of Medicine.
Dr. Sweet testified that during the time Gutierrez was having sex with various women, the chances of him transmitting HIV was very low because of his viral levels at the time. When asked if Gutierrez was capable of transmitting HIV to his sexual partners Sweet testified, "I don't think it was probable, but it was possible."
Two counts of aggravated assault and one count of adultery were dropped at the request of the prosecution.
On Tuesday, witnesses testified that Gutierrez and his wife met their partners at so-called "swinger parties" and on swinger websites.
During closing arguments, prosecutor Captain Brian Mason told the judge Gutierrez, "Just days after orders, he had vaginal sex, and he did not inform his partner of his HIV status," referring to an order from Gutierrez' commander to have protected sex and inform partners he has HIV.
"The accused knew he was putting these people in danger," Mason said.
Defense attorney Major James Dorman argued there is no evidence to prove aggravated assault. He said when Gutierrez had sex with other partners the risk of infecting someone with HIV was low. "The risk is so low, it can't rise to aggravated assault with these facts," said Dorman.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.