An LGBT civil rights organization has filed an appeal on a petition for post-conviction relief in the Iowa Supreme Court on behalf of an HIV-positive man who was sentenced to 25 years in prison for having sex with another man.
According to Lambda Legal’s website, Nick Rhoades was sentenced to 25 years in prison and a lifetime registration as a sex offender after having a one-time sexual encounter with another man during which they used a condom.
Thirty-five states have prosecuted HIV positive individuals for exposing another person to HIV. Iowa is among them. But in this case, the condom makes the entire difference, says Christopher Clark, senior staff attorney for Lambda Legal.
"The law only applies to those who intend to expose others to HIV," said Clark in a statement. "This conviction cannot stand because someone who engages in safe sex is not guilty of criminal transmission of HIV. Nick's use of a condom clearly indicates that he was protecting his sexual partner from exposure."
Just yesterday, Lambda Legal helped an openly lesbian woman win a court settlement of $25,000 after she had been the victim of a hate crime by employees and diners at a Sizzler restaurant in New York.
Read the brief of the case Nick Rhoades v. State of Iowa: