In a first for the military court system, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces upheld a conviction of sexual assault for a sailor who engaged in consensual sex with four women but failed to disclose that he was HIV-positive.
The appellate court last week affirmed an earlier ruling in the case, U.S. v. Forbes. The women could not provide “meaningful, informed consent” to have sex with the sailor, Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 2nd Class Lamar Forbes, because they didn’t have all the facts before consenting, the court found. Thereby, the government argued, they were sexually assaulted.
Previous military convictions for failing to disclose a positive HIV status have been for aggravated assault, failure to obey a lawful order requiring disclosure, or a lesser charge.