Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
E-newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:

Uncle Poodle Presses Charges, Partner Sentenced to 5 Years

| 28 Comments
An Atlanta-based blog reports that Lee Thompson, better known as "Uncle Poodle" on TLC's "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" program has confirmed not only that he has tested positive for HIV antibodies, but that he pressed charges against his former boyfriend from whom he believes he acquired the virus. 

The partner, Thompson says, was sentenced to five years in prison.  In the interview, Thompson says he "hesitantly" decided to press charges and that "it was the right thing to do." 

There's no reference in the interview to whether or not Thompson ever asked his former boyfriend about his HIV status or what conversations they did or did not have about HIV prevention or behavioral boundaries.  Thompson says he was "adamant" about getting tested regularly for HIV, noting he was negative mid-March and then diagnosed positive in May. 

Then he says: "I would have been cool with his HIV status if he had been honest. I don't have an issue with the disease. I would have known how to protect myself."  No, Lee, you already knew how to protect yourself.  You chose not to and now you're making it someone else's fault.

When people are newly diagnosed they often are in a state of semi-shock, sometimes for an extended period, and sometimes make decisions they later regret.  I don't think anyone should put another person at risk of harm, but Thompson's failure to take responsibility for protecting himself is no reason for him to put someone else in jail.

Uncle Poodle, if you read this, I wish you the best of luck managing your health situation, but I hope you'll reconsider the vindictive course you have taken against your former partner. 

For more information about HIV criminalization--or to join the campaign to stop it--go to www.SeroProject.com.


Sean on:

28 Comments

Show Comment(s)

Comments on Sean Strub's blog entry "Uncle Poodle Presses Charges, Partner Sentenced to 5 Years"

From the 1983 Denver Principles: we feel people with AIDS have an ethical responsibility to inform their potential sexual partners of their health status.
"Vindictive course," my ass. You weren't there. You don't know what happened. Stop exonerating every irresponsible creep out there. And like it or not, Georgia has a law about this, so Thompson was fully within his rights to seek prosecution.

I don't think anyone should knowingly put another person at risk and I agree entirely with the Denver Principles sentence you quote, (reading "health status" as not necessarily HIV status--the virus wasn't even discovered when the Denver Principles manifesto was written--but meaning a health factor that puts the other party at risk).

But ethical obligation and criminal liability are two different things. I'm not exonerating Thompson's partner, but pointing out that Thompson has an obligation to take responsibility for his own actions as well. Because he failed to do so doesn't mean someone else should be in prison for five years.

We also don't know anything about what they did sexually, whether there were other factors (like drugs) involved that might have impaired judgement, or even if there is proof that the infection came from Thompson's partner. Thompson makes a point of how frequently he got tested, which would imply he was having multiple partners but he apparently wasn't diligent about protecting himself. Testing, alas, isn't prevention.


i must disagree with u, Sean. an HIV-negative partner's responsibility to protect their own health in no way exonerates an HIV-positive partner from infecting them. condom usage is not now, has never been, and in all likelihood never will be the default practice among people...it can not be invoked as a smokescreen to absolve HIV-positive people of culpability for either intelligently or negligently transmitting HIV to unsuspecting partners.

none of us know what actually transpired between these two men. however imperfect they remain, our courts r still the most trustworthy mechanism for determining the truth underlying these encounters.

as HIV-positive people we have always faced a great deal of stigma and discrimination in venue after venue...and it's getting worse, especially in the legal arena. on this we agree.

where we part is in our underlying political assumptions...you and others in our community seem convinced that you can broadly sell the proposition that people who actually believe sexual and romantic partners and get infected with a plague as a result of believing that partner's lies share enough culpability to wash away the injury and the interest of society at large and the injured party specifically to seek redress,..is astonishing in its naivete and political insularity.

when i read parts of ur SeroProject website, wherein u advised angry partners who r considering pressing charges against their hiv+ partners that "we 'take' hiv from them just as much as they 'give' it to us", i thought u sounded like an insane cult leader, bluntly.

similarly, when i heard Catherine Hanssens describing the case of NuShawn Williams late last year, she sounded like a sleazy defense attorney at a rape trial.

my problem with both perceptions is that i know what a preposterous insult that is to both of u, as ur both serious people and activists i respect greatly. nonetheless, i can't lie to myself or pull the punch: i keep hoping that u'll test this assessment in a somehow-self-limiting venue where u can discover just how politically alien u sound...WITHOUT adding to the already bad-getting-worse legal and social situation faced by HIV+ in general.

further, i dont think the overall POZ community is in a position to presume to ostracize those of us who file complaints against partners who infected us...that's another tactic i've seen hinted at by urself and explicated more broadly in online venues like poz/aidsmeds.

HIV science has evolved greatly, and the disease is indeed a different beast medically(better), morally (more varied) and legally (WORSE) now than 25 years ago...but it has not evolved much politically. we should address that, but our community has grown too insular...ur political tactics poorly serve ur political strategy.

Jeton,

You, like the initial poster, use the word "exonerate." Who says anyone here is to be exonerated? I'm saying Poodle should be accepting responsibility for his failure to protect himself. We don't know the circumstances of the case. You refer to partners who lie about their status, which is another situation entirely. If someone lies, there is recourse in the civil courts. In my view, that is where it belongs (rather than criminal courts).

Your faith in the courts as such a "trustworthy mechanism" is not one I share. The criminal justice system has been profoundly unjust to people with HIV, often meting out absurd punishments--including decades in prison and lifetime sex offender registration--for circumstances where there was no intent to harm, no risk of harm and no harm inflicted.

The issue here isn't about HIV, it is about the role of the criminal law in the context of sexually transmitted infections. To the extent the criminal law is involved, it must consider four factors, in my view:

1) INTENT: Was there a malicious intent to harm?
2) RISK: How much risk of harm was incurred?
3) HARM: Was a harm inflicted?
4) LIKE HARMS: Like harms must be treated alike; HIV can't be hold out singularly while other STIs that if left untreated can seriously harm or even kill someone are treated differently.

I realize, from our previous conversations, that you are upset by my suggestion that people who acquire HIV "take it" from their partners just as much as the partners "give it" to them, but I think the framing is important to heighten awareness of the responsibility for every individual to protect themselves and the impracticality of relying on partners to always do that for them. It would be nice if we could rely on partners to such an extent, but it isn't realistic and no amount of criminal penalty is going to change that reality.

I wonder if any genetic sleuthing was done to try to see if Lee Thompson's HIV is actually microbiologically linked to the virus his former boyfriend has. If the two are not genetically linked then Thompson did not get infected by his ex. It's insufficient to lock someone up for 5 years on the basis of simply saying, "I got infected because my partner didn't disclose". In such a case Thompson is responsible for getting infected and his ex should not be in jail.

And this is why sero-sorting is taking place. Too many people gotta blame someone else for their choices.

Lee,

I applaud your stance in this matter. Wether or not you had taken messures to protect yourself with your former boyfriend, which you should have, he had a responsibility to both you AND society to disclose his status prior to engaging in sex with you. ESPECIALLY when he saw that there was no protective measures being taken. He should have been punished for longer than the five years. I believe that in some states he could have gotten a life sentence and if that is not the case, then it should be. I wish you well and if you do get into another relationship, I hope that you do not make the same mistake that he made with you. Make your status yours for life and never share that virus with anyone. Protect yourself and others as you have now seen how important that is. I wish you well baby!

I disagree with the disclosure mafia; HIV+ aren't doing ourselves any favors by abiding discriminatory laws that wrongly and unfairly imprison us, and we're not doing any favors for the HIV- by validating the notion that someone else should be responsible for their health. With that said, I think that there's a tendency in the HIV community to preach to the choir. That's a great plan if you want validation, but a terrible way to win converts.

The scariest instance of an HIV prosecution I know involves a former partner who, after testing positive, went on a rampage. He accused everyone, including myself, of nondisclosure. I was fortunate in that not only had I not "failed to disclose", I'd legitimately been negative while we were together. Whoever prosecutes these things never even bothered to address his grievance with me. They did however send his most recent ex boyfriend to prison. This former partner now lists his status on a hookup site as "negative".

Witnessing this debacle was crucial in changing my opinion about these laws. Wanna know what wasn't? The "hellfire and damnation" discussions that are common on a certain nearby message board that will remain nameless. The constant demand that I "take ownership" of my infection, and immediately drop my anger. Let's be honest, anyone who thinks they weren't furious and desperate two weeks after diagnosis is staring at their colon. All that fire and brimstone just turned me off actually, as it clearly has Jeton and a countless others, and I bailed on that forum.

I think it's important that when we address Poodle's bad decision, we constantly do it with compassion and empathy, not just because it's the right thing to do, but because we want to win people's hearts and their minds. Public discussion and persuasion, like church, works with sympathy and love, not screaming and protests. That's why megachurches are growing, and westboro baptist is...

We are all accountable for our actions. If Mr Poodle frequenltly went for an hiv test then he knows the risk. I can't understand why people just don't use condoms and if your gonna be in a relationship ask what's their status is.It may be uncomfortable for the other person and believe you me i was when my ex girlfriend said if you want to sleep with me you need do doan hiv test. i was schocked but i agreed that we both take one. People who are first inform about their satus have a way of blaming the other person. We don't know if his partner told him what if he did and Mr poodle is being vindictive.We don't know. Now what we need to do is how do we get this he said she said out of the way. To many people are getting way to many years for something that we don't know transpired. What if we did tell that person that he/she is positive and that person says ok,and they break up and the person feels spurned and says you never told then what? must we draft a contract sayin that he/she disclosed. We need to establish that and also take responsibility for our sexual actions.

As I have always said " Safe sex is NO SEX", anything else one is taking a risk. PERIOD, no excuses no nothing, it's up to both parties to protect each other. I find no excuse to put someone in prison for passing on HIV to another. If this is the case we should all pack our bags and load up to the nearest prison and sit for the rest of our lives. I am neither against or for the reactions, however I think people should take more responsibility, more than they think they are. if this makes sense. Now that this guy is in prison, hmm wonder how many more will become infected.

I'm sorry as a responsible adult we are each responsible for our own mortality. If you want to have sex, its your responsibility to make sure a condom is used and questions are asked. I hold no one responsible but myself , for my HIV status. Educate yourself on these things regardless if you are positive or negative. Its about your life. Ignorance is no excuse.

From the sound of the article and the comments, one needs to get it into their heads, all men are pathological liars, they will do and say anything to get laid, so you cannot trust any them.

So always ask to see your partners hiv test results, always question where he's been, who he's been with, never let your guard down and always, whether you've been together 5 hours or 5 years, always practice sex, as if you don't and you become hiv+, apparently it is what you deserve.

How interesting that the people who are on Poodle's side presume that this was a monogamous "long term relationship", despite the obvious and contradictory fact that Poodle evidently felt a need to test almost monthly. Meanwhile, the people against him act like their first reaction at a positive result was "Oh well, gee, I guess I should've insisted on a condom", as if anyone who isn't emotionally retarded or in denial responds that way. The reactions I'm seeing here say more about our presumptions in the disclosure debate than they contribute to an understanding of what Poodle actually did.

TJ - you state that "ALL MEN are pathological liars" then you state to see documentation of an HIV test,then saying that one shuold question the other about this and that.. HELLO .. why would anyone ask a question just to note that they are going to LIE . makes no sense to me.Then saying it's what the person deserves ??? OMG are you serious.. No one.. NOOOOO ONE deserves HIV no matter who they are, what they have done etc. Comments like this make me sick. It's persons such as yourself that make it difficult on everyone else. your stupidity which is most OBVIOUS will land you in trouble for the rest o f your life.. good LUCK.. - Rain

Rain, Rain , Rain,

First - settle down girl, you're working yourself into a perfect tizzy. Then you need to re-read and then re-read again what I wrote. I stated that the sound of the article and many of those commenting on this issue were making all men out to be pathological liars and as such it up to us to protect ourselves in all ways possible.

Continuing on in a sarcastic (sar·cas·tic
/särˈkastik/ Adjective - Marked by or given to using irony in order to mock or convey contempt.
Synonyms mordant - biting - cutting - acrimonious - snide) tone, that due to that fact, one should ask to see their partners hiv test results, always question where he's been, who he's been with, never let your guard down and always, whether you've been together 5 hours or 5 years, always practice sex.

I then continued to say that if you don't do those things and you become hiv+, apparently(ap·par·ent·ly /əˈparəntlē/ Adverb - As far as one knows or can see. Synonyms evidently - obviously - seemingly - clearly), it is what you deserve. You may want to re-read that sentence a few times, to fully grasp the meaning.

I will type my next statement S*L*O*W*L*Y so you can understand what I am saying -

I*never*said*anyone*deserves*HIV.

(This is where re-reading and then re-reading my original post again might help.)

I sign off with this one suggestion, before you call someone stupid, you might want to re-read your own post a few times.

Just saying...


http://viralapartheid.com/2013/01/22/uncle-poodle-hiv-prosecution-allegations-raise-serious-questions/

Sean,

I can't begin to tell you not only how much I disagree with your position here, but also how judgmental I find some of your comments regarding Poodle. It is both his and his ex partner's fault that he contracted HIV, not only Poodle's as you've insinuated. Perhaps you have been HIV positive for so long that you have forgotten what it feels like to be negative. At some point in all "monogamous" relationships most couple cease using condoms. For some this is with much discourse and preparation including testing, others perhaps not so much. Nevertheless, you're insinuation that a negative partner must forever protect one's own status in a supposedly monogamous relationship is overly simplistic and illogical.

Paul,

I'm sorry you thought my comments judgmental, but I was responding only to what he said he did, which is press charges against an ex-partner resulting in a five year prison sentence. I don't know anything about that relationship, whether it was monogamous or what kind of understanding or conversation they did or did not have about HIV prevention or their behavioral boundaries.

What I do know is that for people who don't know their HIV status or are negative to rely on disclosure from those with HIV is a bad idea that will inevitably result in more HIV transmission. No one should knowingly put others at risk of harm, nor should one put themselves at risk of harm. HIV prevention is a shared responsibility; putting people in jail for not disclosing (or, often, not being able to prove they disclosed) is a bad idea, even more so when it is independent of whether or not there was any risk of transmission or any actual harm inflicted.

If a partner lies, there is recourse in the civil courts. People shouldn't be able to lie with impunity when their deception harms another. But that is different from saying someone should go to jail for five years in a circumstance where the responsibility for HIV prevention is a shared one.

Beyond the issue of what is appropriate retribution by society, if any, there is also the issue of public health. These statutes and prosecutions harm the public health by discouraging HIV testing, disclosure and accessing treatment. What purpose do they serve except to further stigmatize HIV.

I'm not saying it is entirely Poodle's fault; I'm saying it is very likely not entirely the fault of the partner he says he has put in jail for five years.

I will not be as kind to Uncle Poo for it is clearly that their was not a drop of love for each other in this relationship and Uncle Poo knew the risk with any Gay Relationship and why did he not have protected sex and then find out the truth of his so called partner or trick and his self, or maybe he was HIV first and gave it to his partner. Uncle Poo is another misguided gay leader that now must go through the AIDS process and the shame and the isolation of disclosing to his next trick, oh I am HIV and honest and lonly. Uncle Poo now that you are HIV remember, tell every one and stay out of prison for that is the last thing we need is another gay man in prison sharing their AIDS with the world. My God the oppressed, oppressing the oppressed, where is your Heart Uncle.

I thinking that as each state starts to build out some kind of policy concerning the disclosure of HIV and the Feds keep sticking by HIPPA, it is a little confusing for some that have the need to stay in a secret place and then others understand that disclosure can protect their freedom to live and be sexual, while other that are HIV are building loving relationship with honesty and integrity with one partner and do not have to worry or be concerned for they are out of the HIV closet and have the power within to stay free and happy For me it is more like Swim at your own risk. And maybe the states need to make a disclosure mandate for corporation that prepare foods with lots of sugar and arrest the makers of heavy sugar products that are causing so many deaths in spreading diabetes and kidney failure from the toxic amounts of sugar in our foods. This sounds a little silly to think that was might blame Duncan Hines and Gamma's rich deserts on the deaths of million form over weight health problems. Eat at your own Risk and Have Sex at your own Risk. I will not give Uncle Poo a pass on this for it is clear that this is a domestic dispute and Uncle Poo's power is in revenge mot Justice, for I wonder it the man sent to prison is younger with past drug and emotional problems and was he being keep by Uncle Poo in an attempt to accept the crumbs of love through money and control, My question to Uncle Poo is where is the LOVE, compassion and relationship of truth?

As an advocate in Arkansas, when it comes to questioning HIV and disclosure, I tell everyone that is newly involved, or wanting to just "have fun on the side" ALWAYS assume that the chosen partner is HIV positive and protect yourself.

I agree with Terrance, I never blamed anyone for getting infected. I knew what was out there and didn't play by the rules. It was my fault, my mistake and now I live with the consequences. It has never crossed my mind to put whomever infected me in jail because I was just as careless. It takes two to tango. I do believe that the + person should be upfront with disclosure before having sex with another person. But we don't live in a perfect world, so don't expect those kinds of results.

I buried my first partner ten years after we met. We tested HIV positive 5 years in the relationship. After being tested we hugged and loved and fought together in life and prayer and action, not once did we ever point fingers at each other for we embraced each other because at the time we only had each other. I was 24 and he was 32 and had more knowledge then I and I could of turned on him and blamed his actions and guidance, although he was my best friend and I loved him. Uncle Poodle I plead with you to fix this problem with your partner to give your partner his freedom back for the Gay Community needs forgiveness and I pray and hope it begins with you today... Help Him, Guide Him, and Liberate him. I beg you for true justice begins in one's heart, please give him grace. For then and only then will there be justice in my thoughts for justice in truth and action in the healing of a community.

I am scared to death of acquiring HIV.
I get tested all the time.

I've never had unsafe sex, and to be honest, I very rarely participate in anal sex, usually it is oral sex only, condoms are always used - and still it might be 4 partners a year and just 4 tests. But I just do it regularly because I'm scared of the one in a million chance, even with all the safety precautions.

So it annoys me that people on hear are assuming he was practicing unsafe sex with many different partners. Maybe that is what the lot of you do, but not me, and unless you know for sure... why jump to conclusions?

In regards to the law - if you are HIV positive, you should be legally required to always use a condom unless you disclose yours status. End of Story.

It's easy to see that everyone stating otherwise on here must be HIV positive.

If a condom was used - then fine, no need to disclose - but this should be the legal responsibility of the HIV positive partner, if a condom is not used, disclosure should ALWAYS be made.

If unsafe sex is had, without disclosure of status, I fully support sending the HIV partner to jail.

The NON HIV positive partner should not be held responsible at all.

If I had tuberculosis - should I go around kissing everyone - or should I protect them? Does everyone need to ask me, do you have tuberculosis? ofcourse not. You be a decent human and take a moral stand to protect them.

What annoys me about some of the comments on here, I can tell, most of you just feel like

'well stuff everyone else, i got infected, nobody told me, nobody protected me, so why should i help anyone else'.

Reading about these hiv disclosure cases makes me feel like we are still living back in the age of the Salem witch trials. What's next? Sending someone to jail because they kissed you and gave you mono or the flu?! Get real folks. Sexual intercourse is a natural part of human life. You cannot just restrict a certain subset of the population from having sex, which they are effectively trying to do with these discriminatory non-disclosure laws. It is doing absolutely no good except making people reluctant to get tested and wasting taxpayers money through all these court cases and sending people to jail for no reason except they wanted to have sex just like everyone else.

If someone gives you HIV and were negligent over it, sure sue them, but keep it out of the criminal courts! Anyone who has sex with anyone else is accepting the responsibility and risk that goes along with it. It's not the governments job to do that. It is your duty to protect yourself or make sure the other person is safe before doing it, not anyone else. Just your own!

The current laws especially make no sense when given these facts that most people are ignorant of:
1) You are at much greater risk of getting HIV having sex with a random hottie on Grindr than you are from your poz friend who has been undetectable for over 6 months, condom or no condom. Don't believe me? It just proves how little you, and most of society, actually know!

2) Asking someone whether they are clean or not makes little sense as a protection method considering that the vast majority of HIV transmissions occur from people who were just recently infected (since their viral loads are at their highest then). I'd say at least two thirds of all transmissions occur in this way and these people wouldn't know they even had the virus to tell you. So what's the point in even asking?? Most of the remaining third of transmissions are from infected people not on medication who have higher viral loads. But how many transmissions are from those on medication and are undetectable? Almost negligible!

You are more at risk of dying getting in a car without your seat belt on than having sex with an hiv poz person who is undetectable. And we are sending people to jail over this??

Very sick, NO one has nor should they have the right to KNOWINGLY infect or risk infected others with out disclosure. I have ZERO sympathy for the man in prison for Non disclosure, sure Uncle Poodle should take responsibility, but that doesn't mean the partner involved in non disclosure shouldn't take responsibility as well. Do I support draconian laws? No but some people need to go to jail, and anyone who doesn't disclose and actually infects someone should go to jail.

Some of these commits are on the edge to suggest that ever one should use condoms to solve the problems of HIV n a law. Some of the comments might be suggesting that Uncle Poodle should go to jail for not demanding a condom. Uncle Poodle now is costing the American people thousands of dollars a month and now is one of those people that could in danger other citizens. It would be different if Uncle Poodle did not know about HIV. So should we step up the issues to make a law of the land that every one must wear a condom during sex, to include straight and gay and if you do not wear a condom then one goes to Jail either Poz or Not.

Dave, great comment. I often times make that same argument when talking with people. Let's be honest, I have a Grindr profile, an Adam4Adam profile, and an OKCupid profile. In all of those sites I disclose in my about me section.

Regardless I still get people who ask me if I'm "clean" or "positive". Which often time I reply with some snarky comment before reminding them to read my profile. Honestly, being young and attractive all they care about is the size of d*ck, waist, and fitness level. It isn't until that "release" that they begin to contemplate their actions, and attempt to piece together the conversation they had from the previous night.

I've even been confronted about claims that I did not disclose my status, when simply was not true.

The thing we don't know the conversation that happened between the two of them, and we don't know what conversations they had about HIV or other viruses. People version of reality is altered and easily manipulated even under normal circumstances, now try having two horny people who want to have sex and I wouldn't believe the conversation.

I often confront people about this in my conversation. I ask them a simple question "Are you concerned about contracting Hep C?" with a follow-up of "Then why is my managed, HIV+ such a concern to you?"

It's not the virus people are afraid of it the stigma associated with the virus, and that's not a reason to be put in prison.

Leave a comment

Sean In Bookstores Soon



Archives

 

Blog Roll

Subscribe to Blog

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Sean Strub published on January 12, 2013 11:02 PM.

Treatment as Prevention: Not as Simple as It Sounds was the previous entry in this blog.

Screenings of Positive Women: Exposing Injustice and HIV is Not a Crime is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Sean on Twitter

Disclaimer

The opinions expressed by the bloggers and by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong and/or its employees.

Smart + Strong is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information contained in the blogs or within any comments posted to the blogs.



© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy