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New Orleans Escort Busted


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Boy this one is sure going to spur a whole lot of debate here!

 

Just in case the URL evaporates, the story is of a sting operation in which an officer contacts a 'scort online (acting on a tip) asks if the 'scort is "disease- and drug-free", and the 'scort falsely states that he was. (The 'scort is HIV positive).

 

They set up the meeting. At the meeting the 'scort tells the office that they'll have to use condums. Instead the officer produces handcuffs and arrests him, charging him with (among other things) a law that makes it illegal to "intentionally expose another to any AIDS virus through sexual contact without the knowing and lawful consent of the victim".

 

Violations of this law carry a penalty of up to 10 years of prison time and a $5000 fine.

 

Everything else aside, that's going to make enough for an interesting (and chilling) legal fight which may well attract national attention.

 

It is clear that the 'scort did not obtain "the knowing and lawful consent". It is less than clear that the 'scort "intentionally exposed" the purported victim. The police say that condom's are not 100 percent effective (and DrG may well chime here and say that that is so). It certainly indicates to me that the 'scort was not trying to deliberately infect the client, but, on the other hand, the law says "expose" rather than "infect".

 

The article is worth reading, but most online articles disappear sooner or later, and the debate here may rage on past it's disappearance.

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Just in case, here is the post:

 

Prostitute with HIV lied about health, detective says

 

Man charged under rarely used state law

By Natalie Pompilio

Staff writer/The Times-Picayune

 

As the two men finalized plans to rendezvous, the client asked the prostitute a personal but pertinent question:

 

"Are you disease- and drug-free?"

 

The response, via computer messaging, came quickly. The answer was "Yes ... Seeing as though we're going to have sex, I thought you should know. I wouldn't want to expose you to that."

 

It turns out neither man was completely forthright.

 

The client was actually a New Orleans police detective, and police say the alleged prostitute has tested positive for the AIDS virus. Their conversation paved the way for police to arrest the man on a rarely used charge of intentionally spreading HIV.

 

Bryan Maillet, 26, of 407 Burgundy St., was arrested at his home Saturday. He was booked with crimes against nature, promoting prostitution and intentional exposure to the AIDS virus. Maillet, who has been released on bond, could not be reached for comment.

 

The undercover operation was prompted by a tip to NOPD Vice Detective Frank Young. Posing as a customer, Young contacted Maillet online early last week, then went to Young's French Quarter home this past weekend to seal the deal. Meanwhile, Southern Decadence, which is sometimes called the Gay Mardi Gras and may bring as many as 60,000 visitors to the city annually, was in full swing.

 

"I wouldn't have done it if I hadn't felt the informant was so credible and didn't have such a valid concern," Young said. "The opportunity to exponentially infect people at that festival is incredible."

 

Louisiana law states in part that it is illegal to "intentionally expose another to any AIDS virus through sexual contact without the knowing and lawful consent of the victim." Since the law was enacted in 1987, the Orleans Parish district attorney's office has formally charged four individuals with the crime, said Zully Jimenez, a spokeswoman for District Attorney Harry Connick.

 

In two cases, the defendants pleaded guilty, Jimenez said. A third was found guilty by a jury. The fourth died before the case could be resolved. Those found guilty of intentionally spreading the virus can be sentenced to a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $5,000 fine, she said.

 

Jefferson's 24th Judicial District Court addressed its first case of intentional exposure only last year. In January 1999, an infected Metairie woman was given four years' active probation and ordered to register as a sex offender after pleading guilty to two counts of intentional exposure.

 

Maillet's case has not yet been reviewed by the district attorney's office. He was released from Orleans Parish lockup Sunday on $55,000 bond: $50,000 for the intentional exposure charge and $2,500 each for the other two.

 

Young found Maillet through an ad for an escort service in a magazine. The pair communicated via e-mail and instant messaging. At one point, Young asked Maillet to send him a photo. Maillet immediately obliged, Young said, providing a nude picture of himself at his computer.

 

The pair met Saturday at Maillet's house in the French Quarter. Young said Maillet told him they would have to use a condom. Instead, Young pulled out handcuffs. He said Maillet's last-minute suggestion that the pair use protection should not affect the charge against him.

 

"He intentionally hid the fact that he was infected and relied solely on the effectiveness of a condom, which is not 100 percent," Young said. "No matter how slight the chance for exposure, he knowingly has AIDS."

 

Documents and other materials confiscated from Maillet's home will confirm he is HIV-positive, Young said.

 

Two national cases spurred states to pass laws criminalizing the intentional spread of the AIDS virus.

 

In New York, Nushawn Williams is serving a four- to 12-year prison term for infecting 13 women with the virus. Authorities claim he knew he was HIV-positive when he traded drugs for sex in rural Chautauqua County in 1997. In a recent magazine story, Williams said he did not know he had the virus when he engaged in sexual acts with the women.

 

Before Williams, Darnell "Boss Man" McGee of St. Louis was known as one of the original "supertransmitters." McGee is believed to have spread HIV to as many as 18 women before being shot to death in 1997.

 

But not everyone believes criminalizing the spread of the AIDS virus is the way to curb the epidemic. Instead, the law's critics say, it further stigmatizes those with the disease. It also gives those who suspect they may be HIV-positive a reason to avoid being tested for it. That could be even riskier, the opponents say.

 

There's also the possibility that the law could be misused. Iska Beck of AIDS Law of Louisiana Inc. knows of at least one case in which a relationship went sour and a bitter ex-lover claimed he didn't know his partner was HIV-positive. The man was arrested, although the charge was later dropped.

 

Noel Twilbeck, executive director of the NO/AIDS Task Force, said it's uncommon for an individual to intentionally infect another with the AIDS virus, but he has heard of cases in which infected individuals don't reveal their HIV status.

 

"For some, it may be fear of rejection," Twilbeck said. "Then there's, 'Hey, I'm infected and I'm going to take down everybody with me.' "

 

His nonprofit organization aims to reduce high-risk sex among gay men. That means always taking precautions, he said.

 

"You should assume everyone is HIV-infected and take appropriate responsibility for that," Twilbeck said. "Our message to get across is you don't know where your partner's been or what they've done. People don't come with labels."

 

Condoms are the most effective way to prevent the sexual spread of HIV, but no method is 100 percent, said Tom Farley, chairman of Community Health Sciences at Tulane University's School of Public Health.

 

"There's no prevention technique that we promote that's perfect," Farley said. "Seat belts aren't perfect. Vaccines aren't perfect. But we don't shy away from promoting them, because they save a lot of lives."

 

09/08/00

 

© 2000, The Times-Picayune.

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Reading the above comments and information, I am not surprised that many states have put laws on the books about intentional transfer of human immunodeficiency viruses to other individuals who were not informed about the transmitter's HIV status.

 

The problem with the information from the police officer is that HIV and AIDS are two distinctly different clinical phases of disease caused by a single group of pathogens. AIDS represents the very last stage of HIV disease, characterized largely by existence of one or more pathogenic markers such as TB, Pneumocystis carinii infection, toxoplasmosis, cryptococcus infection or similar organisms. Additional clinical markers are used to delineate between HIV and AIDS. HIV infection generally behaves more like influenza in the beginning and then may lay dormant for many years, awaiting an as-yet-unidentified signal to become active. Progressing ultimately to AIDS when treatment failure begins, AIDS is the last "terminal" stage of the disease. Unfortunately...condoms are NOT 100% reliable even when used with proper lubrication and according to recommendations by CDC. This leaves abstinence which is of course no fun at all! I guess the underlying message is that HIV positive men and women should be honest enough to disclose their status, but we all know that may not occur in the heat of the moment. In the complete lack of information concerning our partners, maybe safer sex techniques are the only form of somewhat reliable insurance that we have. Please play safely and reduce your risk as much as possible.

 

Thank you to HooBoy for allowing me to rattle on about this and other issues!

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Guest MattAdams

I think this sting was a very special situation. Prostitution in general does not seem to be a big issue in New Orleans. I have added a post on jealousy in the business since the biggest enemy of the top escorts seems to be other escorts in the business.

 

Matt Adams

Author of Hustlers, Escorts and Porn Stars

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The busted escort was not Todd. I think you may be confusing Burgundy Street with Bourbon Street. I honestly do not know the name under which the busted escort works. I wouldn't post his working name unless I was absolutely certain.

 

I draw three lessons from the article:

 

(1) Never trust an escort or anyone else when he tells you he is disease free. Always assume the worst and take appropriate precautions.

 

(2) Escorts have a moral, and in many states a legal, obligation to disclose their HIV status. But don't count on them to do so. Does anybody know of a resource summarizing the laws of all the states on this point?

 

(3) The police and the judicial system will not be merciful to an escort who lies about his HIV status. Note that the escort was charged with three crimes. The bail for prostitution and sodomy (a crime in Louisiana) was set at $2,500 each, but the bail for exposing another to HIV was set at $50,000. The quoted police officer indicated that he would not have pursued the matter if he had not received a tip that the escort was HIV positive.

 

HIV positive escorts do not break Louisiana's (and probably other states' as well) law against exposing another to HIV, if they disclose their HIV status to the client. Of course, prostitution is illegal by itself.

 

I feel sorry for the escort. I anticipate that he will not serve any jail time, but will have the status of a felon, be required to register as a sex offender and owe some lawyer a large fee.

 

Like many other states, Louisiana provides the names, addresses and pictures of registered sex offenders on the web. In many communities, registered sex offenders are made to feel very unwelcome. Somehow, though, I suspect that it's not a big deal in New Orlean's French Quarter.

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