FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — The man who pleaded guilty to knowingly transferring HIV to his partners has been sentenced to nine years in prison.
Rudolph Smith, 37, appeared before Judge Julia Martz-Fisher Friday morning and received an above-guidelines sentence.
“He definitely knew he had it, he definitely wanted unprotected sex with these women,” said Frederick County State’s Attorney, Charlie Smith.
An investigation by the Frederick Police Department into Smith began in 2017 when multiple women came forward to say he had given them the virus after sparking a sexual relationship.
Smith entered an Alford plea–meaning he maintains his innocence that he didn’t know had HIV at the time of these relationships but recognizes that the state has enough evidence to convict him.
Victims in the case did not wish to speak on-camera in order to protect their identities, but one victim did step before the Judge Martz-Fisher inside the courtroom to say that this diagnosis was mentally, physically and emotionally difficult to have to deal with on a daily basis.
She went on to add that she’s felt stigmatized by family, friends, and even co-workers due to her HIV status.
Ahead of the sentencing, the defense attorney’s for Smith asked the judge to consider his three children and how their lives have also been impacted by the case.
Ultimately, Judge Martz-Fisher called his action’s “inexcusable,” and on being aware of his status she also said, “I don’t believe your statement that you didn’t know.”
Another victim said she was glad to have spoken up and perhaps saved other women out there from a similar situation.
“This is not a death sentence for these ladies, but nevertheless, they’ve got to deal with this infection each and every day for the rest of their lives and that’s something they just should not have had to deal with,” the state’s attorney said.
Upon release, Smith must serve 5 years of probation. The court ordered that Smith have no contact with any of the victims.
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