September 30, 1996 in Nation/World

Man Faces Count Of Spreading Aids Virus

Compiled From Wire Services
 

For the second time in six years, former college basketball player Kerry “Stephen” Thomas faces a charge of knowingly exposing someone to the AIDS virus.

Thomas, 32, of Boise, was being held Saturday night in the Ada County Jail. Bond was set at $500,000.

He was arrested on the charge of “Transfer of HIV Body Fluid.”

Although Thomas, arrested Friday at home, faces only one charge, Boise police are asking other potential victims to step forward.

The arrest stems from an incident that occurred since Thomas was released from prison in June 1992. He is on parole after serving 17 months on a statutory rape conviction.

Thomas was charged in April 1990 with exposing five Ada County women to HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Law-enforcement officials said he had unprotected sex with the women in 1989 and early 1990.

He allegedly exposed them to HIV without their knowledge.

But prosecutors dropped the AIDS-exposure charges after Thomas agreed in September 1990 to plead guilty to one count of statutory rape. He admitted to having sex with a 16-year-old girl. The victim was an emotionally troubled girl with substance abuse problems when she met Thomas, a former aide at a facility for teenagers.

In November 1990, 4th District Judge George Carey sentenced Thomas to between three and 15 years in prison. But in January 1992, Carey agreed to cut the sentence in half. Carey said he thought Thomas had been punished enough. He cited Thomas’ good prison record, no prior criminal history and strong family ties.

Three women Thomas allegedly exposed to HIV testified at his parole hearing that prosecutors had let them down by agreeing to the plea bargain that eliminated the AIDS-exposure charge. At the time, prosecutors said they did all they could to keep Thomas behind bars. They argued against sentence reduction. Thomas faced a longer sentence with a statutory rape conviction, up to life in prison, than an HIV-exposure conviction, which could be up to 15 years on each count.


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