A gay wrestler who is HIV positive is on trial for knowingly and maliciously infecting random sex partners with the disease that causes AIDS.
Michael Johnson, 23, reportedly knew he was HIV positive when he solicited men online for sex. Johnson reportedly assured the men he was clean.
“He didn’t just fail to disclose” his status... When he was specifically asked if he was clean, he lied," assistant St. Charles County prosecutor Philip Groenweghe told jurors.
Groenweghe said Johnson scoured online dating websites and social media for other promiscuous gay men. He allegedly hooked up with the men in his Lindenwood University dorm room.
Johnson, who won the 2012 National Junior College championship, was a sought-after sex partner who went by the username “Tiger Mandingo” online.
Investigators searched Johnson's laptop and found 32 videos of the chiseled wrestler having unprotected sex with multiple men in his dorm room at the conservative Christian college.
Public health officials urged the men in the videos to get tested for the HIV virus and other STDs.
Johnson learned he was HIV positive in January 2013. A nurse and a disease prevention specialist testified that Johnson lied, saying he was not sexually active during follow-up appointments. Johnson was also diagnosed with gonorrhea and a multitude of sexually transmitted diseases.
Gay rights activists have rushed to Johnson's defense, saying the "barely literate" college student is being unfairly persecuted for having a "medical condition."
Pro gay news and technology website Buzzfeed.com reached out to Johnson behind bars to offer their support.
Buzzfeed, who referred to Johnson as a "HIV scapegoat", interviewed one of his victims, a fellow Lindenwood student.
The student, who is white, said he preferred having bareback sex with white men, but he was attracted to Johnson because he was "gorgeous" and "well endowed."
“I let him come in me,” the student told Buzzfeed. "He wanted bareback sex," he said, because Johnson was “huge,” and he was “only my third black guy.”
The student subsequently tested negative for HIV.
Johnson told Buzzfeed, “My dream for my life is to continue with college, get my bachelor’s degree, and become a role model for people that are struggling to be gay, just as I was struggling."
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