A Frederick, Maryland, man was sentenced Friday to nine years in prison for knowingly transmitting HIV to three women, prosecutors said.
Rudolph Jericho Smith, 37, entered an Alford plea in September to three counts each of second-degree assault and knowingly attempting to transfer HIV.
An Alford plea is a type of guilty plea where the accused does not admit guilt but acknowledges the state has sufficient evidence to convict them, the Frederick County state’s attorney’s office said in a statement.
Frederick police began an investigation into Smith in 2017, when different women reported that they believed Smith had infected them with HIV. Investigators learned that Smith did in fact know he was HIV positive but kept on having unprotected sex without sharing his status.
He met the women on various dating websites and apps, police said.
Smith was then arrested and indicted earlier this year. In April, police said they had identified three more victims, bringing the total to seven.
“While HIV is not what it was 15 years ago with effective treatments that now exist, these victims will be impacted by this defendant’s actions for the rest of their lives,” said State’s Attorney Charlie Smith in a statement.