An Illinois special needs teacher’s aide has been accused of molesting an underage student while knowingly infected with HIV.
He remains behind bars while authorities investigate another possible case of molestation involving a different student.
Police Lt. Dennis Plew says he’s unaware of whether or not the alleged victim has been tested for HIV since the incident, but has implored parents to “report any questionable dealings between Hunt and their children – or at least get them tested for HIV if they’re reluctant to get police involved.”
Prosecutors in St. Clair County east of St. Louis charged Mario L. Hunt, 35, on Monday with felony counts of criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse and “transmitting” HIV through intimate contact during the first half of 2011, when the student was 17. The transmission charge means a defendant merely exposed a victim to the virus that causes AIDS, not necessarily causing actual infection.
“This is horrible,” Plew told The Associated Press. “I’m sure some kids come to school and put a lot of trust in a teacher, and for anyone to take advantage of that is a terrible thing.”
These are horrendous allegations; but let’s hope this community can steer the forthcoming conversation towards keeping children safe, and away from the criminalization of those living with HIV.
Thoughts on this story?
How should we think about the role this teacher’s health status impacts the treatment of this story in the media?
Sound off below!