HIV-positive man pleads guilty to exposing 2 Md. women to virus

A Virginia man who was charged with trying to infect unsuspecting women with HIV accepted a plea deal in a Montgomery County, Md. courtroom on Tuesday. Daniel Cleaves, 28, will spend up to 18 months in jail for exposing two women to the virus.

Cleaves faced reckless endangerment charges after two Montgomery County women came forward claiming he had unprotected sex with them, but did not tell them he was infected.  A judge in the case denied his request for bond after entering his plea.

The first incident happened in July 2014, when investigators said one of the victims met Cleaves in a downtown Bethesda bar. The victim told police she and Cleaves went home and spent three days having unprotected sex, but Cleaves never offered or asked to use a condom. The victim said she found medical tests in Cleaves' backpack that indicated he was HIV positive.

Court documents said Cleaves admitted he had HIV in text messages with the victim, but still chose not to share the information. He was arrested in October.

A second victim came forward later in October, saying that she first met Cleaves and had sex with him in March 2013. Over the next year, the victim said they ran into each other at Bethesda bars several times, and they had sex two times in September 2014—and police say Cleaves knew he was HIV-positive.

The defense says Cleaves was on medication that suppresses transmission of HIV. So far, according to prosecutors, the two victims in the case have not tested positive for the virus, despite having been exposed by Cleaves.

Prosecutors told the court that the victims in the case wanted to protect their privacy, but also wanted Cleaves to suffer as they have.

In court, Cleaves told the judge, "I've learned my lesson," adding that he wouldn't think about having sex with a girl.

Cleaves is also accused of raping two women in the Richmond, Va. area after meeting them at a bar, and another woman from Norfolk, Va. has also come forward claiming to be a victim of Cleaves. Cleaves was arrested again in December for violating his bond.

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