Black Man Imprisoned For Giving 14 White Women HIV Is Allegedly HIV-Negative
Reported by Yolanda Spivey
In 1997, the state of New York was in a panic after learning about a young black man named Nushawn Williams, a homeless teenager at the time who’d sell drugs to support himself, infected 14 white women with the HIV virus.
Williams, a Brooklyn, NY native, wandered to different towns within the state of New York. He eventually settled in Jamestown, NY, a small town in Chautauqua County, a rural community with a population of 142,000. There he would meet young troubled women, all who dabbled in drugs and high-risk seχual behavior.
After the HIV scandal was widely publicized, it was reported that Williams had slept with 47 women in Chautauqua County and 28 more in New York City. Fourteen of those women were diagnosed as being HIV positive—the youngest infected was only 13-years-old.
In 1996, Williams pled guilty to two counts of statutory rαpe and one count of reckless endangerment in the first degree for having unprotected seχ with women who did not know of his HIV status. He was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison.
Although sixteen years have passed, Nushawn Williams remains locked up in custody although he has served his sentence. A New York State law has the right to hold Williams under “civil confinement” if they feel that he is a threat to the public.
According to Chautauqua County, a jury determined that Williams has a mental abnormality that makes him likely to commit more seχual crimes in the future. They subsequently rendered him a dangerous seχ offender. And this year in March, the State Supreme Court upheld Chautauqua County’s decision; Judge John Michalski ordered that Williams be committed to a secure treatment facility designated by the Office of Mental Health.
However, it is alleged that Williams is HIV-negative and has always been.
In the 90’s after feeling sick, Williams went to a local clinic in Jamestown, NY where an HIV test was administered. Although the test allegedly came back positive, Williams never followed up with a second test to confirm the results. According to his ex-girlfriend Amber Arnold, he thought the clinic “was lying to him to run him out of Jamestown.”
According to Williams’ attorney John R. Nuchereno, the young man was never positive in the first place. He told BuffaloNews.com, “He doesn’t have HIV. Now, it doesn’t just go away, and it leads me to believe the victim in this case is right here.”
Nuchereno believes his client’s civil rights are being violated . He had Williams’ blood sent to the Core Electron Microscopy Facility at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where tests confirmed the HIV-negative results.
Others are skeptical about the HIV-negative diagnosis. Sherriff Joseph A. Gerace from the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s department stated, “I think it’s a desperate effort to try to get him released from custody. I don’t recall any claim that he wasn’t HIV-positive. In fact, it was shown in court that he was HIV-positive and continued to have unprotected seχ with girls as young as 13. That’s what made it so heinous.”
Many also attribute Williams’ negative status from years of taking anti-viral drugs which can make your viral load undetectable. Others feel that the real reason behind Williams’ extended prison sentence is because he slept with white women, potentially giving them a deadly virus.
Thomas Shevory made a good point in his 2004 book Notorious H.I.V.recounts. He stated that there was a “media panic” over the Nushawn Williams case. While the media paid close attention to Williams’ case and practically vilified him, they paid little-to-no attention to other similar cases. The difference was, Williams slept with white women while the others slept with mostly black women.
Shevory compared Williams’ case to that of Darnell McGee, a black man who in 1996 infected 62 women, most of them who were black. He was eventually shot dead in 1997. McGee’s case didn’t get the national attention Williams’ case garnered.
Should Nushawn Williams be released? What are your thoughts? Keep in mind, he did sleep with two underage girls, one 13 the other 15, when he was 19-years-old.
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