HIV positive Calgary man who had unprotected sex with women a 'black hole of human emotion': Crown

Described by victims as a "predator" and a "terrorist," John Joseph McNamara was sentenced to 7½ years in prison on Thursday for refusing to tell six women he is HIV positive.

John Joseph McNamara used local online dating sites to meet victims

John Joseph McNamara was sentenced to 7½ years in prison for refusing to disclose his HIV positive status to 6 women. (Calgary Police Service)

Described by his victims as a "predator" and a "terrorist," John Joseph McNamara was sentenced to 7½ years in prison on Thursday for refusing to tell six women he is HIV positive.

McNamara had unprotected sex with the women he'd met on dating websites between 2012 and 2013.

Earlier this year, McNamara, 46, pleaded guilty to six counts of aggravated sexual assault, one of which occurred while he was out on bail for his earlier offences. 

"What you are is a predator, you purposefully tried to infect as many people as possible," wrote one of the women in a victim impact statement. 

Prosecutors Janice Walsh and Kane Richards made a joint submission for the 7½-year sentence with defence lawyer Shamsher Kothari, which was accepted by Justice Robert Hall. With about five years credit for the time he's already served, McNamara has 30 months left on his sentence. 

"He callously, in his own interest, had sex with multiple partners in multiple ways … without any regard for their safety," said Hall in handing down his decision.

One woman, who can't be identified because of a publication, ban also called McNamara an unremorseful "terrorist."

None of the women contracted HIV from the sexual encounters. 

"They say we are lucky," said a victim.

"We are mothers, daughters, friends and sisters, homeowners, graduates; we are your victims."

'Blackhole of human emotion'

Not only did McNamara fail to disclose his status with five of the women, he actively lied to one who specifically asked him if he had any sexually-transmitted diseases.

McNamara was found to have a "psychopathic personality structure," according to a psychiatric report prepared by a forensic psychiatrist ahead of the sentencing hearing. 

The report prepared by Dr. George Duska found McNamara has a sense of entitlement, lack of empathy and no ability to take personal responsibility for his actions.

McNamara is an "expert in calculated revisionist history," is "comfortable violating others' rights" and has a "disturbing absence of empathy, insight and self-awareness," said Walsh who also called him a "virtual black hole of human emotion." 

McNamara wasn't taking meds

Though the sex was initially consensual, it was McNamara's failure to disclose his HIV status that legally invalidated that consent.

This area of the law is murky and in flux in Canada. In December, the Ontario government announced it would not prosecute people with HIV who don't disclose their status — if there is no realistic possibility of transmission.

The federal government has been asked to consider changes to the Criminal Code in light of scientific evidence that, if treated properly, risk of transmission is negligible.

At the time of his offences, McNamara was not taking his medication, had a high viral load, and was a high risk to spread the virus. He also did not follow his clinic's policy of seeing a doctor every three months.

He also did not use a condom with the victims, which can reduce the risk of transmission by 80 per cent, according to the agreed statement of facts.


Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is a justice affairs reporter. She has been covering courts, crime and stories of police accountability in southern Alberta for more than a decade. Send Meghan a story tip at or follow her on Twitter.