Defendant required to undergo disease testing for sex offenses

In an unusual move, a court has required a criminal defendant in Nelson County, Maryland, to submit to tests to determine whether he is carrying any sexually transmitted diseases. The man, age 56, is accused of sodomy, rape and object sexual penetration with several victims under the age of 13. Other charges for alleged sex crimes in the case include those for possessing and manufacturing child pornography.

The parents of the three alleged victims requested that the man be tested for HIV and other STDs. Those family members say they simply want to make sure that their children are not infected with a communicable disease. Attorneys for the defense did not raise objections to that request, but they have requested notification if the children show symptoms of an STD.

Information released at a preliminary hearing shows that the man’s electronic devices may have included as many as 37 videos and 750 images of the children in question. Three girls testified that the defendant had engaged in questionable behavior with them, including sex acts. One of the girls said that she was forced into recording some of the sexual encounters that were found on the man’s computer and thumb drives.

The defendant in this case was subject to thorough background checks, according to officials with Amherst County Public Schools. The man had worked there in the transportation department from 2012 to 2013. He is slated to be arraigned in late June in Nelson County.

The man and his attorney clearly had to work together to decide whether the STD testing could be considered an invasion of privacy or violation of rights. In the worst case, it could provide evidence linking the man to the crimes. However, the test may ultimately prove irrelevant if no diseases are detected. Such invasive tests should be carefully considered before they are approved.

Source:  The News & Advance, “Man facing sex charges must undergo STD testing, court orders” Justin Faulconer, Jun. 09, 2014