Judge Dismisses Felony Against Chiacchia Darren Chiacchia competing at Rocking Horse in 2011. Photo used with permission. © Xpress Foto

Appellate Court Reinstates Criminal Case Against Eventer Darren Chiacchia


An appeals court reinstated the felony charge against Olympic eventer Darren Chiacchia. The bronze medalist is accused of not telling his partner he was HIV positive.

The Florida 5th District Court of Appeal reversed a lower court’s decision after opining about sexual intercourse. “We conclude that the plain and ordinary meaning of the term sexual intercourse, as used in section 384.24(2), includes vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse between persons, regardless of their gender.”

In September 2011, Circuit Judge Hale Stancil granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss. The decision led to the charge being dropped against the fallen equestrian star. Stancil stated his decision was bound by an earlier ruling made by the Florida 2nd District Court of Appeal, stating the sex covered in the statute was exclusive to a man and a woman.

The State Attorney’s office appealed the decision.

On Friday the justices released their opinion, reversing the trial court’s dismissal and remanding the case back to the court for further proceedings. “The defendant’s interpretation of the statute as being limited to heterosexual vaginal sex runs counter to the Legislature’s intent to efficiently and effectively reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases in Florida.”

Chiacchia was arrested in early 2010 after his former partner made allegations that Chiacchia didn’t tell him he was HIV positive. In 1997, Florida passed a law making it a felony for those with HIV not to inform their sexual partners of their condition.

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