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PostSubject: Former wrestling champ guilty of knowingly spreading HIV   Sat May 16, 2015 3:45 pm

A jury in Missouri convicted former Warren Central wrestling star Michael Johnson of five felonies

Former high school wrestling champion Michael Johnson once told The Indianapolis Star he dreamed of winning an Olympic gold medal.

He had won the Indiana High School Athletic Association wrestling title in February 2010 when he was a senior at Warren Central High School.

But five years after the victory that seemed to promise a bright future, Johnson faced a jury in St. Charles, Mo., on accusations he knowingly infected or attempted to infect sexual partners with HIV without disclosing his HIV-positive status.

The jury on Thursday convicted the 23-year-old of five of six felonies. On Friday, jurors recommended a 30-year prison sentence, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. A sentencing date was not immediately set.

Prosecutors charged him with six felonies after men came forward and said Johnson did not use a condom, or warn them about the virus, the Indianapolis Star reported.

After graduating from Warren Central, Johnson attended Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., to wrestle.

Prosecutors in 2013 charged Johnson with two counts of recklessly infecting another with HIV, three counts of attempting to recklessly infect someone and one count of recklessly exposing someone to HIV, though the individual did not contract the virus.

The jury found Johnson not guilty of one of the charges of recklessly infecting someone with HIV, prosecutors said.

Johnson's public defender, Heather Donovan, has not responded to a request for comment.

At trial, Johnson testified that he did tell his sexual partners that he had HIV, the Post-Dispatch reported.

That conflicted with the accounts of his partners, who said Johnson denied having any sexually transmitted diseases, the newspaper reported.

Johnson's case has drawn the attention of gay rights activists and some legal reform groups. They argue that laws in Missouri and dozens of other states criminalize a medical condition and deter those at risk of infection from seeking medical treatment.
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