Prosecutors Charge Male Escort Who Police Say Knowingly Exposed Clients to HIV

By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee June 3, 2010

Yesterday, King County prosecutors told us that no charges had been filed against a HIV positive 22-year-old male escort, who police say knowingly exposed nearly a half-dozen clients to HIV.

However, it turns out prosecutors have in fact charged the man, identified in court records as Oliberio "Oliver" Moreno, with one count of reckless endangerment, despite indications in court documents that police had requested more serious first degree assault and attempted assault charges.

"It is clear that Moreno does not care about the health of others, potentially spreading the HIV virus, and exposing at least three victims to potential life-threatening disease," SPD Vice Detective Don Jones wrote in a police report, noting that Moreno has a "pattern of having sex, both protected and unprotected, without disclosing his HIV status."

Prosecutors filed charges against Moreno early last month, alleging he exposed a 38-year-old man to HIV.

Police began investigating Moreno in January after one of his former partners contacted police and told them Moreno was advertising himself as an escort on Craigslist, two months after he had been diagnosed with HIV.

An undercover detective set up a meeting with Moreno who, police records say, insisted that he would not use a condom while "topping" or penetrating the detective during sex.

Police arrested Moreno at a Lakewood trailer park on April 28th after he met with the undercover detective.

Detectives interviewed Moreno, and determined he'd had unprotected sex with at least three other men—and five men total—between February 1st and April 1st.

Although police records indicate vice detectives believe Moreno committed first-degree assault and attempted assault—charges that could potentially earn Moreno a decades-long sentence—prosecutors only filed filed one count of reckless endangerment, which carries a maximum sentence of one year.

In order to charge Moreno with assault, prosecutors would need to prove he had intended to harm and infect his victims.

Court and police records do not indicate whether any of Moreno's victims have since tested positive for HIV.

Moreno is currently being held in the King County Jail on $40,000 bail. Court records say prosecutors have requested he be "ordered to refrain from having any unprotected sexual activity" upon his release.

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