An Arkansas man admitted in court this week that he deliberately contracted HIV so he could spread the virus to his sexual partners, the Democrat Gazette reports.
Stephen Edward Koch, 25, who was initially arrested on drug charges, ultimately pleaded guilty to attempting to expose another person to HIV, possession of methamphetamine with intent to deliver, possession of drug paraphernalia, delivery of meth, and eight counts of distributing, possessing, or viewing child pornography.
Benton County prosecutors discovered text messages and other communication indicating Koch intentionally infected himself with HIV and was making plans to go out on a double date and deceive sexual partners about his HIV status.
“Just so I can get my brain around this, did I understand the state correctly; Mr. Koch intentionally contracted the HIV virus so he could then infect others?” Circuit Judge Robin Green asked chief deputy prosecutor Stuart Cearley. Koch then confirmed this “self-destructive” behavior.
Green clarified that Koch’s behavior would also hurt other people. “Was that the reason?” the judge asked Koch.
“Yes,” he replied.
Koch was sentenced to 50 years in prison with a suspended sentence agreement that he must complete the prison’s sex offender treatment program and register as a sex offender upon release.