The Associated Press
ST. CHARLES, Mo. — A 22-year-old former Lindenwood University wrestler was charged Thursday with a reckless sex felony after police say he knowingly transmitted the virus that causes AIDS by having unprotected sex with another student whom he met online.
St. Charles County Prosecutor Tim Lohmar said he charged Michael L. "Tiger" Johnson with reckless sex after a 5-month investigation. Johnson and the male victim had unprotected sex at least twice in the wrestler's Lindenwood dorm room, first in late January and again in March, Lohmar said.
Medical records showed that Johnson was told that he was HIV-positive 19 days before the first sexual encounter, the probable cause statement said.
"Mr. Johnson knew he was HIV-positive and failed to disclose it to the victim," Lohmar told The Associated Press. "We have reason to believe there were several other people who were (potentially) exposed."
Johnson remained in jail late Thursday on a $100,000 cash bond. His first court appearance is scheduled for Friday. Online court records don't list an attorney.
Scott Queen, Lindenwood University's associate athletic directors for external affairs, said Johnson was expelled Thursday after the charges became known. The Lindenwood wrestling team's website was quickly scrubbed of his name, but mentions of his past accomplishments were still visible through an archived Internet search.
That search also showed that the 6-foot-1, 197-pound junior from Indianapolis came to campus after attending Lincoln College, a two-year school in central Illinois.
"He was kicked out of school as soon as we learned of the felony charges," Queen said Thursday, coincidentally the first day of practice for the Division II team.
Queen said in a written statement that the suburban St. Louis school is "cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation and doing everything possible to protect and educate our students."
The school also plans to host an HIV/AIDS awareness speaker and is making counselors available to its students, the statement said.
The development comes one month after a 36-year-old southeast Missouri man was charged with a similar crime in Dexter.
Dunklin County resident David Mangum is charged with one count of recklessly infecting another person with HIV, and 21 counts of exposing two other men to the virus. The 21 counts reflect the alleged number of sexual encounters Mangum had with those two men; neither has developed HIV.
Magnum told police he had sex with up to 300 people over the past decade, including 60 in Missouri, prompting local health officials and police to cast a wide net. Authorities said many of Mangum's sexual encounters in Missouri were set up through Craigslist ads, often with strangers, including truckers and other transients.