Former U.S. Olympic equestrian Darren Chiacchia has been cleared of all charges in Florida of having sex without disclosing that he has HIV. According to a press release by his attorney Paul Guilfoil, the prosecutors reviewed the evidence and decided to dismiss the case.
Chiacchia’s legal problems go back to 2009, when a man tried to have him arrested in New York, then Kentucky and finally Florida for allegedly not informing him that Chiacchia was HIV positive and thus exposing him to HIV. Failure to disclose is a felony in Florida.
The legal battles lasted several years. To complicate the situation, Chiacchia had suffered a traumatic brain injury after a fall from a horse in 2008, diminishing his ability to take care of himself.
“Chiacchia and many others fervently believe,” reads the press statement, “that no one should be the target of false criminal allegations or charges that rely upon antiquated and constitutionally over-broad punishment for any citizen—especially those who suffer from a disability making it difficult or impossible for them to defend themselves.
“Perhaps the only positive outcome of this tragic mess is the fact that Chiacchia has become increasingly active in supporting change to HIV laws. Across the country these statutes tend to discourage testing for and treatment of the virus. Medical science continues to improve the details of HIV identification and treatment.”