Victims of HIV-positive Ontario man tell of shame, suicide attempts
A courtroom on Tuesday heard stories of severe depression, suicide attempts and broken relationships from women knowingly exposed to HIV by an Ontario man.
Carl Leone, 31, of Windsor, Ont., pleaded guilty to 15 counts of aggravated assault in April for failing to notify his partners he was HIV positive.
A weeklong hearing is underway as a Windsor judge considers whether he should be classified as a dangerous offender, meaning he could be jailed indefinitely.
Thirteen victim impact statements were heard on Tuesday, with two women appearing in person to deliver their statements into the record and Crown prosecutor Tim Kavanagh reading 11 others.
In one statement read by Kavanagh, a woman infected with HIV said she was a virgin when she met Leone and hasn't had sex since.
"I am uncertain of what my future will be like. One thing is for sure, they tell me that my life will be shortened one way or another," said the woman, known only as J.H.
"Carl Leone will likely be the only person I will ever have sexual relations with."
Five of Leone's 15 victims are HIV-positive.
Another woman told of how she twice tried to end her life, then later turned to God and forgave Leone but said she'll never forget what happened.
Two women who read their statements in person spoke of how they kept their encounter secret from family and friends, but felt the shame of sharing the intimate details of their sex lives with lawyers and police.
Others said they felt isolated, devastated and worthless when they found out Leone was HIV-positive.
Leone sat with his head lowered while the statements were read.
Two more women who live outside Windsor are expected to read their statements on Friday, when the hearing is also expected to hear closing arguments.
Leone learned in 1997 from the Windsor Essex County Health Unit that he was HIV positive. He was arrested seven years later on June 6, 2004, for failing to disclose his status to sexual partners.
The designation of dangerous offender is relatively rare and is intended to protect the public from the most dangerous and violent offenders as well as the most serious sexual offenders.
With files from the Canadian Press