Thomas Guerra, a gay California man who is HIV positive, has been charged by the San Diego City Attorney's Office with one count of willful exposure. Guerra willfully engaged in sex with another man without informing his partner he was carrying HIV. However, police say it’s likely Guerra has exposed dozens more.
The single count carries a maximum $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail. CBS News says the “original accuser in the case is another man who once dated Guerra. The alleged victim has provided San Diego police with additional text messaging records that he hopes could prompt prosecutors to upgrade the case to a felony, punishable by up to eight years in prison.”
And investigators say they have yet to uncover all of Guerra’s potential victims.
A San Diego man, who asked to not be identified, said Guerra, who also goes by an alias of Ashton Chavez, is out of control and needs to be stopped.
“There's people that are being hurt, and people that still could be hurt. His behavior needs to stop,” the man said. The pair dated – until the man was sickened by what he saw on Guerra’s phone.
“There's hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands, of text messages where he's talking about intentionally infecting people with HIV,” he said. “Texts where he's stating he's negative to people then bragging to others about giving people his ‘positive load.’ It's crude, it's… I don't know how someone could treat another individual like that.”
The unnamed source even says he and Guerra contemplated marriage.
“I was hours away from proposing to this individual. This is someone that I loved, I've loved his family, I've spent multiple holidays with his family, he's been home with me to my family. This is someone that I intended to spend the rest of my life with,” he said.
The man said Guerra is using his body as a “weapon,” and can provide no rational reason that Guerra would be “forever changing these people's lives… and these people have no clue what's happening to them,” the accuser said.
Prosecutors say it’s likely more charges will be filed once additional victims step forward, and are asking that anyone that has had contact with Guerra reveal themselves and be tested.
Guerra, who works as a landscaper, claims to be the grand-nephew of the late labor leader and civil rights activist Cesar Chavez
Guerra is scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 2.