Darren Chiacchia competing at Rocking Horse in 2011. Photo used with permission. © Xpress Foto
Darren Chiacchia is fighting to keep his freedom. He is charged with a felony count of not telling his former male partner he was HIV positive.
For more than four years, criminal proceedings have plagued the Olympic bronze medalist. A new attorney from the public defender’s office is handling Chiacchia’s case.
As the discovery process continues, the Florida Supreme Court is expected to look at the case law and issue a decision, according to Assistant State Attorney Brad Robinson. “We are going forward with this case,” he says. Robinson says the decision by the state’s supreme court will “set a precedent.” It is unknown when the high court will issue an opinion.
In 2011, the defendant’s motion to dismiss the case was granted. According to Judge Hale Stancil, his decision was bound 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.
The Florida 5th District Court of Appeal reversed the lower court’s decision and remanded the case back for further proceedings in 2013. “We conclude that the plain and ordinary meaning of the term sexual intercourse … includes vaginal, anal, and oral intercourse between persons, regardless of their gender.”
Chiacchia was arrested in January 2010 after his partner alleged Chiacchia didn’t tell him he was HIV positive. Chiacchia pleaded not guilty and has maintained his innocence.
Robinson, unable to get into the evidence of the case, says they only prosecute cases, “if we have a substantial likelihood of a conviction at trial.”
Florida passed a law making it a felony for those with HIV not to inform their sexual partners of their condition in 1997.
If found guilty, Chiacchia could face up to 30-years behind bars.
Chiacchia’s pre-trial hearing is scheduled for June 3.
A call to Chiacchia’s Public Defender Elena Rogers was not returned.