By Roxana Hegeman
WICHITA, Kan. —
A Kansas airman accused of disobeying orders requiring him to tell his sexual partners that he is HIV positive faces assault charges at a military hearing following allegations that he indulged in unprotected sex with multiple women at swingers' parties.
Court martial proceedings against Tech. Sgt. David Gutierrez begin Tuesday at McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita where he is stationed with the 22nd Maintenance Operations Squadron. He has been under arrest at the base since Aug. 9.
The Air Force has charged him with violating military law by having unprotected sex with at least 10 people without telling them he is infected. He faces 10 counts of aggravated assault — one for each sexual partner — and is charged with violating his squadron commander's October 2009 order to notify his sexual partners about his HIV status and to use condoms.
Gutierrez also has been charged with multiple indecent acts for having sex in front of others. He also was charged with nine counts of adultery.
Two women testified at a military hearing last year that they had sex with Gutierrez, including at swingers' parties, but that they would not have had done so had they known he was HIV positive. One Topeka woman testified that she asked Gutierrez whether he had any sexually transmitted diseases and believed him when he assured her he did not.
Asked why she believed him, she tearfully replied, "Because he is Air Force. They have integrity. I trusted him."
The defense did not present any evidence at last year's Article 32 hearing, similar to a civilian grand jury. His defense attorney did not return a call for comment Friday.
Special Agent Richard Toth of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations at McConnell testified last year that military authorities found out about Gutierrez's sexual activities through numerous interviews with his wife, who was apparently concerned that her husband was not telling his sexual partners of his HIV status. Gutierrez's wife videotaped some of his sexual encounters.
His commander, Maj. Christopher Hague, testified last year that he gave Gutierrez a written order in October 2009 requiring him to use condoms and to notify his sexual partners of his HIV status before engaging in sex. Gutierrez signed the order acknowledging he had received it, Hague said.
Under military law, Gutierrez could face more than 53 years in prison if convicted on all charges. Other penalties include a dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of pay and reduction in rank.
If found guilty, a sentencing phase would immediately follow the verdict.