Charlie Sheen may have known that he had HIV since 2011. (Read more about his diagnosis here.) He’s announcing his diagnosis to the world on the Today show, and the National Enquirer has reported that his diagnosis is going to be their next cover story. During the years since he was diagnosed, he’s had sex with many people who didn’t know about his diagnosis. TMZ reported that Sheen believed this was OK because his blood has no traced of the virus in its system. Doctors, however, agree that once you contract HIV you have it for life and can pass it on if you have unprotected sex.
Could Charlie Sheen go to jail for not warning his partners about his diagnosis? Here’s what you need to know.
1. Exposing Someone With the Intent of Infecting The Person Is a Felony in California
In California, it’s a felony to willfully expose someone to HIV with the intent of infecting that person, San Jose Mercury News reported. That’s a narrow law, People.com reported, that requires proving someone desired to use HIV as a weapon. The California Health and Safety Code regards simply willfully exposing someone else to HIV as a lesser misdemeanor charge, according to San Jose Mercury News. This would mean that under a very narrow circumstance, Sheen might be jailed. It’s not likely, but also not impossible. In May, a 30-year-old man in California was sentenced to six months in jail for knowingly exposing a partner to HIV.
2. But Laws in Other States Are Different And Might Be Tougher
However, People.com reported, laws in other states are different. If Sheen had sex with partners in different states, he would face different laws. Scott Burris, a professor at Temple University’s Beasley School of Law, told People.com that in some states, simply exposing someone to HIV fluids is against the law.
3. Police Will Be Investigating Allegations About Sheen
California police will be investigating Sheen over the allegations that he slept with women while he was HIV positive and didn’t tell them, the New Zealand Herald reported. What will come of the investigation is unknown.
4. He May Be Facing Lawsuits, But They May End in Financial Settlements
According to multiple reports, including from Radar Online, Sheen may have already paid off a number of women over the possible exposure and to stop them from telling the public about his diagnosis. A number of women may have already sued him and, according to one source, he paid one women as much as $5 million to stay quiet. Adult film star Scottine Ross said, when learning the news, “I don’t ever want to see that guy’s face again, unless it’s in a f–ing courtroom!,” Radar Online reported.
The Mirror reported that Sheen’s lawyers are preparing for legal claims after the news of his diagnosis is public. A family law attorney told People.com that if Sheen knew he was infected and never told his partners, he could risk losing all his civil lawsuits.
5. Meanwhile, People on Social Media Think He Should Go to Jail
As the news gets more public exposure, people are beginning to speak out about wanting Sheen to go to jail. Here are just a few responses on Twitter: