Defendant said he told teen, who was learning-disabled, that he had HIV
HUTCHINSON, Kan. — A Hutchinson man with HIV was acquitted of knowingly exposing a male teenager to the virus by having sex with him.
A Reno County jury on Wednesday, Feb. 11 acquitted Harlin Bailey, 43, after two hours of deliberations.
Bailey had been charged with a felony count of exposing another to a life-threatening communicable disease for performing oral sex on the teen in 2007.
Bailey was charged after the teenager’s mother found the two alone in a bathroom. The boy told his mother and police that he and Bailey had oral sex three times between January and March 2007.
Defense attorney Kelly Driscoll said in closing arguments that Bailey was charged solely because he was having homosexual sex with a learning-disabled teen.
"The state is hoping that you are going to be so offended by this case," Driscoll said. "But you cannot convict Harlin Bailey because he is a homosexual, a bisexual, an asexual or whatever."
Driscoll told jurors that Bailey took what he believed were reasonable precautions, including warning the teen that he had HIV and not allowing the boy to perform oral sex on him.
"This is not a case where he went out and had sexual relations with people and didn’t tell them in order to hurt them," Driscoll said.
Reno County District Attorney Keith Schroeder questioned whether Bailey actually told the teen he had HIV. He also questioned whether the teen’s developmental delays made him incapable of understanding the possible ramifications of having sex with Bailey.
"This case is very much about individual responsibility and accountability," said Schroeder. "It’s whether or not he intended to expose him, not whether or not he intended to infect him or harm him."
Bailey was originally scheduled for trial in October 2008, but it was continued after too many potential jurors said they could not be fair because of their bias against homosexuals relations.
At the time of incident, Bailey was on parole for a May 2007 conviction in Stafford County of criminal sodomy of a child older than 14. The victim in that case was an 11-year-old boy, according to news reports, but the charge was amended as part of a plea bargain.
Bailey’s HIV status also was an issue in that case.
Information from: The Hutchinson News, http://www.hutchnews.com