The Rapid City Journal reports that the South Dakota Senate approved today a bill (SB 65) that would classify someone who intentionally exposed another person to HIV through sexual intercourse as a sex offender.
I’ve been a bit undecided on this one.
On one hand, intentionally infecting someone with a deadly disease is one of the most heinous things a person can do. The state of South Dakota already recognizes this by classifying such acts as a Class 3 felony. So why pile on with an additional punishment when it’s already a felony?
Then again, the nature of the offense is definitely a sexual one, so that would seem to fit the definition of a “sex offender.”
But back on the other hand, typically sex offender registries are to protect the public from violent sexual assaults. While intentionally infecting someone with AIDS is definitely deadly, as long as the sex is consensual, it is not committed through a violent act. So no one would be victimized in the way we typically think of a sex offender hurting someone: grabbing the victim off the street, off the sidewalk, etc.
But back on that other hand again, maybe there is value in having them listed in the sex offender registry. At least this way, a potential sex partner might stumble across them there and be forewarned about having deadly sexual relations with them. Otherwise, how would a potential victim possibly know until it was too late?
I know it may come as a shock to most of you, but I’m a pretty opinionated person. Most matters in life are pretty black and white (unless you’re concerned with finding loopholes, that is). It’s not that often that I’m divided like this on a matter of morality and criminality.
What do you think? I’d like to hear from folks on both sides of the question, here. Do you have any compelling arguments for or against listing someone as a sex offender if they intentionally infect someone with AIDS?