An American man identified as Rudolph Smith has been charged with knowingly transferring HIV to women he met through dating apps and websites and engages them in unprotected sex.
The Frederick Police Department said 34-year-old Rudolph was taken into custody on Monday after a 21-month long investigation.One of the alleged victims went to police back in 2017, but it took prosecutors and investigators almost two years to put together enough evidence to indict him.
Police have so far identified and contacted three more alleged victims, who met Smith on Backpage and Bumble, as well as offline.
Smith was indicted by a Frederick County grand jury this week on four counts each of assault in the first degree, reckless endangerment and knowingly transferring HIV to another person.
Smith received his diagnosis in 2014 and he later confirmed his HIV status to detectives, Frederick News-Post reported citing a Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office press release.
To be found guilty, the jury must believe beyond reasonable doubt that the person knew they were HIV-positive.
Knowingly transferring or attempting to transfer HIV to another person carries a $2,500 fine and up to three years in prison. Police have asked anyone who may have had a sexual relationship with Smith around or after July 2017 other potential victims to come forward.
Prosecutors asked a judge to keep Smith in custody, warning he was a danger to the community. But his public defender asked for bail, and the judge set it at $100,000.