Man Charged With Spreading HIV Claims 300 Partners
A Missouri man who told authorities he had sexual contact with as many 300 people since being diagnosed with HIV pleaded not guilty on Thursday to infecting another man with the virus, and prosecutors said more charges are expected.
David Mangum entered the plea after being charged with recklessly infecting another with HIV, which in Missouri -- where penalties for such crimes are among the nation’s harshest -- carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. His attorney didn’t return messages seeking comment.
Court documents allege that the 36-year-old told detectives in Dexter, a small town in southeast Missouri, that he had unprotected sex with as many as 300 partners since being diagnosed a decade ago with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Up to 60 of those contacts allegedly occurred after he moved to Missouri two years ago from Dallas, where he has convictions for prostitution, indecent exposure and public lewdness.
Many of his trysts stemmed from Craigslist ads, he told investigators, and he would meet up with men at parks, truck stops and other remote locations. Police believe many were truckers or others passing through the region, and because Mangum had little information about many of the men, investigators are concerned about finding potential victims, Dexter police detective Cory Mills said.
"First names with no phone numbers or addresses -- that’s going to be a challenge," Mills said.
So authorities turned to the media, and since then more potential victims have come forward, Stoddard County prosecutor Russell Oliver said. Oliver wouldn’t say how many people, but he said more charges were expected.
Local health clinics are reporting a recent surge in people seeking HIV tests. In Stoddard County, where one or two people generally get tested each week, 15 people came in for testing in the past week, said Debbie Pleimling, director of the county’s Health Department. Neighboring counties are reporting a spike.
"There has to be concern," she said. "If he’s randomly meeting people for sex, we have no clue where to turn."