Man who deliberately contracted HIV to infect others sentenced to 50 years in jail
Stephen will be required to register as a sex offender. At the same time, while in prison, he will need to complete a sex offender treatment program.
Stephen Koch, 25, of Scranton, Arkansas, has been sentenced to 50 years in prison after he admitted in court that he intentionally contracted HIV so he could infect other people with the disease. Stephen has been found guilty to multiple charges. These include attempting to expose another person to HIV, possession of meth, and eight counts of distributing or viewing child pornography.
After the prosecutors presented the allegations, Circuit Judge Robin Green was also stunned to hear the case. “Just so I can get my brain around this, did I understand the state correctly?” she said. “Mr Koch intentionally contracted the HIV virus so he could then infect others?”
As reported by People, Stephen confirmed that it was true and characterized his actions as self-destructive. The judge told Stephen that his actions could hurt others and later asked him if that's what he intended to do. “Was that the reason?” she asked. “Yes,” he replied. According to the court documents obtained by KNWA, while Benton County prosecutors were searching through Stephen's computer to look for child pornography, they discovered that he knowingly infected himself with HIV.
The court also heard that Stephen was planning on going on a double date where he planned on infecting both the people. Mark Williams, an HIV survivor, couldn't believe that someone would think about contacting HIV for the purpose of infecting other people. He was angered to think that people do not take the disease seriously.
"It's very irritating that people do not take the disease serious enough," he said. "For somebody to have such low self-esteem, and lack of worth that they would try to go out and do something that stupid is the only word I can think to use."
William further added that it is offensive that someone would think about doing something so evil as this. "To want to take himself down this road, and infect other people I just can't comprehend it," he said.
HIV educator Ruth Coker Burks said Stephen's actions disrespect those people who have lost their lives due to this virus. "He was set out to destroy anything and everything. It's so unfortunate and awful when people have died just tried to live with this virus," he said.
Meanwhile, William added that these actions of Stephen just point out how people need to be educated more about HIV. "It empowers us and emboldens us to go forward because we know that our work's not yet done," he said. Stephen will be required to register as a sex offender. At the same time, while in prison, he will need to complete a sex offender treatment program. Upon his release, he can have no unsupervised contact with minors.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that causes HIV infection and over time acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). AIDS is a condition which leads to failure of the immune system in people. In most cases, HIV is a sexually transmitted infection and occurs by contact with or transfer of blood, pre-ejaculate, semen, and vaginal fluids.