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HIV-positive man accused of exposing 2 women to virus pleads guilty in Md.

By Dan Morse

An HIV-infected man admitted in court that he had sex with two women he met at a Bethesda bar, exposing his partners to the virus without informing them of the risk.

Daniel Cleaves, 28, pleaded guilty in Montgomery County Circuit Court to two counts of reckless endangerment as part of an agreement with prosecutors. Additional charges related to HIV exposure will be dropped, according to the agreement.

The Virginia man is scheduled to be sentenced later this month.

Prosecutors are expected to ask for 18 months, while Cleaves’s attorneys are likely to ask for considerably less.

Montgomery’s chief prosecutor, John McCarthy, said the two victims have been tested and thus far have shown no signs of the virus that causes AIDS. He said he expected that they will undergo more tests over the next several months.

“He placed two people in jeopardy,” McCarthy said. “It’s sad, and it’s terrifying.”

Cleaves’s attorney Andrew Jezic said his client remains “very remorseful” that he did not tell the women he was HIV-positive before they had unprotected sex. Jezic stressed that the medicine Cleaves was taking had reduced the risk of transmission.

“Daniel Cleaves was vindicated of the charges that he intentionally attempted to pass the HIV virus,” Jezic said. “The medical evidence is unequivocal that Mr. Cleaves was fully compliant with his medical regimen for suppressing the HIV virus, and thus his chances of passing on the virus was virtually zero.”

According to court papers, Cleaves met the first woman on July 25, 2014, at Flanagan’s Harp & Fiddle in downtown Bethesda. The two then had unprotected sex multiple times over three days. At one point, after Cleaves had left the woman’s apartment, he called to ask her to retrieve information out of one of his bags. As she was doing so, she saw medical records showing that Cleaves was HIV positive, according to arrest records.

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me. I had to read it on the paper,” the victim told him in a text message, according to court records.

 

After news reports about that case, a second woman came forward, telling detectives that she had unprotected sex with Cleaves twice after speaking to him at the same bar on Sept. 13.

 

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