He Got HIV on Purpose. What He Planned Was Even Worse

Stephen Koch tells judge he wanted to infect others
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2018 12:07 PM CDT
Updated Jun 10, 2018 2:00 PM CDT
He Got HIV on Purpose. What He Planned Was Even Worse
Stephen Koch   (Benton County Jail)

A 25-year-old Arkansas man has been sentenced to 50 years in prison after admitting he purposefully contracted HIV with the goal of infecting others. Stephen Koch of Scranton was initially arrested on drug charges, though an informant later told police Koch was also viewing child pornography. A subsequent search of his computer and phone showed that to be true and also revealed Koch had intentionally infected himself with HIV, chief deputy prosecutor Stuart Cearley tells the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette. Koch had also planned a double date with people he meant to deceive, Cearley says.

"Just so I can get my brain around this, did I understand the state correctly?" Circuit Judge Robin Green asked in court Monday. Koch confirmed the story, saying he knew his plan to infect others would cause harm. He then pleaded guilty to attempting to expose another person to HIV, meth possession, and eight counts of distributing or viewing child pornography, and was sentenced to 50 years. He'll also be required to register as a sex offender. "I just can’t comprehend it," an area pastor living with HIV tells KNWA of the case. "Stupid is the only word I can think to use." (This UK case is similar.)

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