HIV advocacy groups call for investigation into handling of Michigan criminal case
The results of a weeks-long investigation of a criminal case in Grand Rapids, Mich., involving the state’s HIV disclosure law has resulted in state advocacy groups and public health experts calling for state health officials to investigate the case.
The American Independent’s reporting led Josh Moore, a prominent attorney in HIV law, to opine that either the public health system had suffered a “catastrophic failure” or the accused “is not HIV-positive.”
“Absolutely it is vital we identify where the system failed,” said Nicole Seguin of the Positive Women’s Network of Michigan. “Most of our federal funding is contingent on how well we identify positive individuals and link them into care. This whole situation could have been avoided if the person had received care, counseling, and referrals to needed mental health and substance abuse issues. The sooner we can identify the gaps in care and correct them brings us closer to the end of the spread of HIV. This isn’t the only case where the system failed. The state is conducting fetal infant mortality surveys amongst HIV-positive women because there have been many missed opportunities. We need to find out what went wrong here and take corrective action in order to prevent unecessary transmission.”
The man was charged in December with two counts of violating the state’s HIV disclosure law. The law, known as AIDS — Sexual Penetration with Uninformed Partner — makes it a four-year felony for a person who knows that they are infected with HIV to engage in sexual penetration “however slight” without first disclosing that infection. Michigan does not criminalize needle-sharing without disclosure.
The case arose when the 51-year-old Comstock Park man allegedly walked into the Grand Rapids Police Department and said he has attempted to infect hundreds of people with HIV through sex and needle-sharing. Police charged the man on Dec. 24 with his first charge, and on Dec. 27 hit him with a second charge. The man is currently undergoing psychiatric evaluation to see if he is mentally fit to stand trial on the charges.
After news broke of the case, the media frenzied and developed what activists called “sensationalist” reports on the case.
And Seguin is not alone.
“Yes, the findings of this investigation do indicate a significant need of the state to investigate this case and to find out exactly what has happened,” said Steve Alsum, executive director of Red Project in Grand Rapids, an HIV-prevention group working with intravenous drug users in the area. ”This investigation has highlighted what may have been failings of our overburdened public health system. … We must invest our public funds in interventions that have been scientifically shown to prevent the spread of HIV and to help those living with HIV to live longer, healthier lives.”
Alsum said this story has also shined a light on HIV-criminalization in the state in general.
“This investigation has also highlighted a significant flaw in our legal system, and offers an opportunity for public debate on how to fix it, ” he said. “We must not criminalize certain health conditions, and our laws must be relevant to the times we live in. Childhood obesity is epidemic in Michigan right now, and is a huge cost to our public health care system. Should we incarcerate parents of children who are obese? We must adjust our HIV laws to the times we live in, and not have stigma and discrimination written into our legal code. … Either criminalize all activities related to exposure to health conditions, or decriminalize them all. Stigma and fear regarding HIV, sexual practices and drug use should not guide our legal process.”
“MDCH is in close contact with Kent County and we will no longer be responding to requests regarding their investigation [of the Comstock Park man],” said Angela Minicuci, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Community Health.
University of Michigan Ph.D. candidate Trevor Hoppe is working on a dissertation exploring the effectiveness of Michigan’s disclosure law and parallel civil law, Health Threat to Others. He slammed not only the criminal case itself, but also called for an investigation into HIV disclosure in Michigan.
“This individual seems to have a long history of mental illness, which is the kind of information you would want to know before sounding the alarm to the media that a local man may have infected ‘thousands’ of women, Hoppe said. “It’s unconscionable – and yet altogether uncommon, sadly – for officials to send the public into a panic before knowing all the facts and investigating the case thoroughly. Unfortunately, my research into how local officials respond to these cases across Michigan reveals that this problem is widespread throughout the state: There is no clear and consistent policy statewide for handling these cases. Without such guidance, many local officials are simply unprepared to effectively manage these cases. That kind of systematic unpreparedness has all kinds of nasty effects, but is particularly blameworthy because it creates a perfectly conducive environment for HIV stigma and misinformation to spread.
“Actually I think any investigation ought not to be not just about how this particular case was handled, which is of course atrocious, but more systematic in its approach,” he continued. “We need to rethink our approach to HIV disclosure cases in Michigan. It’s clear there is a problem, that it is pervasive, and that there is an opportunity for policymakers at the local and state level to help rectify that problem.”
Attorney Josh Moore assumes that “either the public health system had suffered a ‘catastrophic failure’ or the accused ‘is not HIV-positive.’”
Unfortunately, these facts are not mutually exclusive.
For more than two years, OMSJ has exposed AIDS Inc. as a “catastrophic failure” that has resulted in the widespread misdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment for thousands of healthy asymptomatic patients. The Grand Rapids case is just the latest hairball to come from the widespread corruption and incompetence that permeate the drug and healthcare industries – industries that routinely injure or kill more than a million Americans EVERY YEAR, for profit.
OMSJ is concerned because, without HIV, activists at the Positive Women’s Network, Red Project and the Michigan Department of Community Health would have to find real jobs.
Most of all, I am heartened that Ph.D. candidate Trevor Hoppe has “called for an investigation” into HIV disclosure in Michigan. As OMSJ Director and someone whose investigative career began years before Trevor’s birth, I am happy to direct OMSJ’s team of experienced MDs, PhDs, attorneys and investigators to examine the corruption and politics that resulted in this debacle.
“OMSJ” is the website of an AIDS denialist internet kook called Clark Baker who has devoted his life to trying to convince the world that HIV is harmless and doesn’t cause AIDS.
His latest gimmick is trolling defence attorneys in HIV transmission/exposure cases, and trying to get them to test his nutcase theories in court.
This can’t be very helpful for their clients, who are facing complex and sometimes inappropriate and unjust criminal processes.
Beware of the whackjob.
After 30+ years and thousands of criminal investigations, OMSJ’s director is accustomed to the contempt of felons.
OMSJ is a licensed investigation agency and 501c3 non-profit corporation. Half of OMSJ’s clients are gay men. Trolls like Jakub use anonymous monikers because universities and activist groups don’t like to be exposed for the pharmaceutically-funded shills that they are. More information about why they post what they post is found at http://www.omsj.org/blogs/sticks-and-stones
Why does “OMSJ’s director” refer to himself in the third person?
The Church of Scientology is a 501c3 non-profit corporation too, Clark. Having tax-exempt status doesn’t make you in any way credible.
Nor does linking to your own blog-rants.
leticia olalia morales of 15501 pasadena ave #h tustin ca 92780 submitted fake documents and 5000 dollars to a person name sandman at the US embassy in manila. she also submitted fake employment records to obtain a work visa. Her husband carlos b. morales also submitted fake documents (land titles and bank statements) to obtain a tourist visa. Her son carlo iii also used such and helped 2 other people to obtain a US tourist visa.
No vaccine, no safe treatment, no cure, no questions after 30 years ! Isn’t
something awry? In House of Numbers: Anatomy of an Epidemic, an AIDS film like
no other, the HIV/AIDS story is being rewritten. This is the first film to
present the uncensored POVs of virtually all the major players; in their own
settings, in their own words. It rocks the foundation upon which all conventional
wisdom regarding ‘HIV/AIDS’ is based. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_p-ttLfkZHQ
It really annoys me that nobody bothers to leave comments. Except AIDS denialist copy-paste spammers of course. Where do they get their motivation from? http://bit.ly/Auffhs
when there is such a huge amount of disagreement about an alleged theory, nonetheless a “scientific theory” then we know that it’s never science, it’s a soap opera of calling each other names,you’re in denial! no! you are in denial blah blah blah…
No, there’s no “disagreement” that HIV causes AIDS among scientists who perform actual research in the area, or among clinicians who treat the disease. Or among any sane and informed people, really.
There’s considerable disagreement about whether HIV positive people should face criminal prosecution for non-disclosure to their sexual partners, and if so under what circumstances. There is also very valid cause for concern about how agencies handle such cases, which is what this article is about.
But you are flogging a dead horse trying to insert an AIDS denialist agenda into the issue.
Clark Baker and OMSJ have not been involved in 38 HIV Criminalization cases as he claims. Mr. Baker uses the works of others to fraudulently pad his resume. In the Daniel Allen Case, the attorney, James Galen said that Mr. Baker was NOT involved in that case and yet Mr. Baker claims to have been “instrumental” in getting bio terrorism charges dropped in that case. The Air Force refused Mr. Baker’s help in the David Guttierez case coming right out and calling Mr. Baker and OMSJ “frauds”! In 3 cases the charges were dropped due to the defendants actually testing HIV= and two Florida Cases were dismissed due to legal precedent set in a previous case.
OMSJ is a LICENSED investigative agency. OMSJ’s investigators have conducted thousands of criminal, civil and military investigations for 30+ years. The pharma-funded bloggers, meth addicts and trolls who attempt to discredit OMSJ could not even qualify to sit for the Calif exam. http://www.bsis.ca.gov/forms_pubs/pi_fact.shtml
I don’t blame the industry for hiring trolls and “reporters” to attack real investigators. They’re just trying to avoid the multi-million dollar class action lawsuits that will eventually rain upon sham HIV clinics. When that happens, clinic employees that don’t end up in prison will have to find real jobs.
Clark, the simple fact of the matter is that there is no independent evidence that you or anyone else associated with your organization has ever exposed “widespread misdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment for thousands of healthy asymptomatic patients”; nor is there any evidence that your HIV/AIDS denialist viewpoints have ever been taken seriously by a court of law. And it’s extremely unlikely that they ever will be.
Criminalization of HIV non-disclosure is a complex legal, ethical and public health issue that deserves serious rethinking. Trying to insert a long-discredited AIDS denialist agenda into the mix can only make things harder for individuals facing such charges.
When asked for independent verification of your grandiose claims, your reply has been to post links to your own belligerent rantings elsewhere on the internet, and dismiss anyone asking as “pharma-funded bloggers, meth addicts and trolls”.
The internet is half-full of deluded loons making unsupportable claims about themselves. You have not given us any reason why you should be taken seriously.
Non – Disclosure ? What about the non – disclosure of non specific HIV Antibody tests to patients that include literature such as the specificity and limitations of those tests ? How many years should the medical practicioners be sent to prison for knowing this and not disclosing it to the patients before even contemplating drawing blood ? There a law against that too .
Its about time someone started to counterclaim state Laws. Good on you Clark .
Which is why The American Independent’s reporting led Josh Moore, a prominent attorney in HIV law, to opine that either the public health system had suffered a “catastrophic failure” or the accused “is not HIV-positive.”