Ohio judge OKs trial for priest with HIV

CLEVELAND (AP) — A judge has ruled that an HIV-positive priest who solicited sex from a park ranger last year will face a felony charge should he go to trial.

The attorney for 69-year-old Rev. James McGonegal asked the judge to reconsider a 1996 Ohio law that makes it a third-degree felony for someone with HIV to solicit sex. The attorney argued Father McGonegal’s HIV status should be ignored because of medical advancements and that he should face a third-degree misdemeanor charge.

Judge Stuart Friedman of Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court today ruled that while the Ohio Legislature was motivated by panic and hysteria when it passed the HIV enhancement law, he conceded that there were not enough facts available in Father McGonegal’s case to challenge the constitutionality of that law.

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