Man fails to reveal HIV+ status, pleads guilty to attempted assault

YOUNGSTOWN — A man pleaded guilty Wednesday to a charge of attempted felonious assault for not telling a person with whom he had a sexual relationship that he tested positive as a carrier for a virus that causes AIDS.

Ronald L. McFarland, 61, lives in Smithfield, North Carolina, but a Youngstown police report states he lived with the victim in Youngstown until January 2023. She contacted Youngstown police in March 2023 to report McFarland’s actions.

The woman said she discovered he had the virus when she found a bag of medication in June 2022, did some research and found out it was a treatment for AIDS. She confronted McFarland about it, and he said he didn’t tell her “because of the way she reacted,” the police report states.

She was tested, and it came up negative, she said. They continued to have a relationship until he left in January 2023, she said. She continued to test negative, she said at the time of the report in March 2023, the report states.

She said her doctor told her to call the police because McFarland did not tell her about his condition, and those actions are felonious.

Mahoning County prosecutors will recommend to Judge R. Scott Krichbaum of Mahoning County Common Pleas Court that McFarland be sentenced to a prison term deemed appropriate by the judge. McFarland’s sentencing is set for 10:30 a.m. July 2.

McFarland’s indictment alleges he engaged in the conduct from May 2021 through March 2023. He was indicted on a charge of felonious assault Jan. 11. If he had been convicted of that offense, he could have gotten about eight years in prison. Attempted felonious assault carries a shorter potential prison sentence.

The Community Corrections Association of Youngstown will conduct a presentence investigation into McFarland’s criminal history and background and report its findings to Krichbaum before the sentencing.

Have an interesting story? Contact Ed Runyan by email at erunyan@vindy.com. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, @TribToday.


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