Air Force: Sergeant may have exposed others to HIV

Airman allegedly frequented "swinger" parties in Kansas. He could be charged with aggravated sexual assault

Published August 31, 2010 9:23PM (EDT)

The military has arrested an Air Force sergeant and accused him of having unprotected sex with partners he met at "swinger" parties in central Kansas even though he knew he was HIV positive, according to a military affidavit.

The Air Force Office of Special Investigations said Tuesday the man has not been charged but was ordered into pretrial confinement at a military jail on McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita by his commander while the investigation continues. The 43-year-old airman was arrested Aug. 9 and was expected to be charged in mid-September, said Air Force OSI spokeswoman Linda Card.

The Air Force was working with local law enforcement and public health officials as part of the investigation, Card said.

"The public health people outside the base are all working with the military health people, the mayor's office and our law enforcement people -- so this isn't being kept secret from the public," Card said.

The airman faces an Article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a preliminary hearing, in September to determine whether there is enough evidence to refer his case to a general court martial, Card said. Two earlier military hearings found that his pretrial confinement was "correct," she said. Military law allows for confinement without charges while investigations are ongoing.

Under military law, having intercourse without first informing a sexual partner of HIV-positive status constitutes as aggravated sexual assault, according to the Air Force affidavit, which was filed in federal court. It was not immediately known what punishment he could face if charged and convicted.

Messages left Tuesday for the man's defense attorney, Capt. Aaron Maness, at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri were not returned. No one replied to a message for comment sent to the fax machine that picked up calls at the airman's Wichita home. His cell phone number listed in a warrant has been disconnected. The Associated Press is not naming the man because he has not been charged with a crime.

A federal search warrant obtained by The Associated Press shows the man is under investigation for aggravated assault against several men and women in the Wichita area by allegedly exposing them to HIV without their knowledge and consent.

Investigators contend he attended at least 21 Wichita-area sex parties called "swinger" events from January 2009 until this past July, according to the affidavit.

The story was first reported by the website

A federal search warrant of the man's Wichita home shows investigators seized pornographic movies, various sexual paraphernalia, digital cameras, an address book, film, digital storage devices, news articles on HIV, among other items. The affidavit does not specify how the military confirmed the wife's claim that the airman was HIV positive, but a property receipt filed with the search warrant noted investigators had seized a blood chemistry report.

The affidavit filed in support of that search warrant stated that the sergeant had engaged in numerous unprotected sex acts with multiple partners over the past three years. His wife told authorities her husband became infected in 2007 while stationed in Italy.

The wife claimed that after being assigned to McConnell in December 2008, her husband began having unprotected sex with numerous partners and bragged to her that he never informed the other parties of being HIV-positive, according to the affidavit. He allegedly photographed or filmed those sexual exploits.

By Roxana Hegeman

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Aids Crime Sex U.s. Military