An HIV positive US Air Force sergeant who engaged in spouse-swapping swingers parties was sentenced on Wednesday to eight years in military prison for failing to tell those partners about his condition.
Sergeant David Gutierrez, 43, also will be dishonourably discharged after serving his prison term, which strips him of benefits he'll need to pay for medication when released.
Gutierrez, found guilty of a slew of charges earlier on Wednesday, begged the presiding judge at the court-martial, Lieutenant Colonel William Muldoon, for mercy, saying he would rather spend additional time behind bars than lose his medical benefits.
Sobbing into a tissue, Gutierrez apologised to his family, his victims and the Air Force.
"I hope they understand I never intended to hurt them," Gutierrez said of his victims, addressing the court before being sentenced. "I thank God every day that no one has contracted HIV" because of contact with him.
"All one has to do is Google my name and my life is before them," he said. "That, I know, is my fault."
He was convicted of seven counts each of aggravated assault and adultery, and one count each of committing an indecent act and disobeying a superior officer's order. Gutierrez could have been sentenced to more than 50 years in prison.
Military prosecutors asked that he receive no less than 18 years and lose his medical benefits, which Gutierrez said would mean a death sentence for him.
Gutierrez "repeatedly played Russian Roulette with the lives of the people of this community", prosecutor Captain Sam Kidd said.
A Kansas airman, accused of disobeying orders requiring him to tell his sexual partners that he is HIV positive, faces assault charges at a military hearing following allegations that he indulged in unprotected sex with multiple women at swingers' parties.
Court martial proceedings against Tech. Sgt. David Gutierrez begin Tuesday at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita where he is stationed with the 22nd Maintenance Operations Squadron. He has been under arrest at the base since Aug. 9.
The Air Force has charged him with violating military law by having unprotected sex with at least 10 people without telling them he is infected. He faces 10 counts of aggravated assault — one for each sexual partner — and is charged with violating his squadron commander's October 2009 order to notify his sexual partners about his HIV status and to use condoms.
Gutierrez also has been charged with multiple indecent acts for having sex in front of others. He also was charged with nine counts of adultery.
Two women testified at a military hearing last year that they had sex with Gutierrez, including at swingers' parties, but that they would not have had done so had they known he was HIV positive. One Topeka woman testified that she asked Gutierrez whether he had any sexually transmitted diseases and believed him when he assured her he did not.