West Michigan man accused of not telling sexual partner he met online that he was HIV positive

Jeremy Merithew, who is HIV positive, failed to disclose his status when seeking out partners on the dating site adam4adam.com

KENT COUNTY, MI — A man said he had an “eerie” feeling after having consensual sex with Jeremy Merithew, 32, whom he met on the Internet and had assured him he was HIV-negative.

He was so concerned that after leaving Merithew’s apartment, he pulled his car to the side of the road to message him from a different screen name. He then learned Merithew was dishonest about his status.

The victim testified today during the preliminary hearing for Jeremy Merithew in 63rd District Court before Judge Steven Servaas.

Merithew, of Plainfield Township, was arrested Aug. 16 and is charged with sexual penetration with an uninformed partner, a four-year felony. He posted a $500 bond.

Kent County sheriff’s deputies on Aug. 17 issued a public advisory considering Merithew’s activity a possible public health threat and asked anyone who may have been “exposed” to him to contact the Kent County Health Department for testing.

The victim said he initiated conversation with Merithew Aug. 9 on adam4adam.com, which he described as a “gay hook up” website for “engaging in sex acts with males.”

During the course of their initial instant message conversation, he asked Merithew a series of questions, including if he was HIV-negative.

“I didn’t want to be infected,” the man said to the court. “I generally ask that question.”

Reading from a print-out of the conversation to the court, the victim said Merithew replied “yes.”

The victim went to Merithew’s apartment the day of their Internet encounter. Before having intercourse, he said he asked Merithew, “You’re HIV-negative, right?” to which he alleged Merithew replied yes.

After leaving the Plainfield Township apartment, the victim pulled his car to the side of the road and messaged Merithew on adam4adam.com from a different screen name. He questioned if Merithew was HIV-positive, to which he said yes, the victim alleged.

Kent County Sheriff’s Detective Justin DeBoode testified today that during the investigation, Merithew informed him he was HIV-positive and was diagnosed in May 2007. His computer hard drive was seized for the investigation.

Judge Servaas adjourned the remainder of preliminary hearing for next week but did not set a date.

Original source: http://www.mlive.com

E-mail Angie Jackson: ajackso3@mlive.com and follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/angiejackson

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