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Daniel Rick convicted of knowingly spreading HIV virus

Daniel Rick has been found guilty of knowingly spreading the HIV virus through unprotected sex with another man, a felony that could put him behind bars for as long as a decade.

The man who had sex with Rick in the spring of 2009, when the two had known each other only briefly, told police the encounter was wholly consensual. But Rick didn't mention his HIV infection to the other man, who soon fell ill.

Rick, now 26, had known of his own illness for at least three years at that point, but never -- not before, during, or after the unprotected sex -- mentioned his affliction to his partner, who figured it out only after doctors told him he was HIV-positive.

On Friday, a jury found Rick guilty of felony assault. His conviction, which is classified as a first-degree assault, is the first of its kind in Hennepin County. Daniel is also facing trial for two other similar cases.

After Rick and the other man met online and exchanged messages for some time, Rick came in to the Saloon Bar, where his victim worked as a bartender. At the end of his shift, the bartender went to meet Rick for a late-night hook-up.

During the anal sex, during which neither man wore a condom, Rick ejaculated inside the other man, according to the criminal complaint filed in March 2010 by the Hennepin County Attorney's Office.

Spokesman Chuck Laszewski confirmed that Rick is the first person in the county convicted under the crime of felony assault for "knowing transfer of communicable disease," and Laszewski said it might also be the first of its kind in Minnesota.

The jury's conviction, which came down on Friday, means Rick's fate now lies in the hands of the judge. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Nov. 28, which will also be used to set a trial date for two other cases being brought against Rick.


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