POLITICAL ACTIVIST ARRESTED ON AIDS CHARGE - Mitch Perry

03/26/04

On Tuesday, local political activist Mauricio Rosas was arrested at his Tampa home, on charges of prostitution and criminal transmission of HIV.

According to Tampa Police, Rosas was arrested by an undercover Tampa Police Officer after offering to have sex for $150.

Rosas has refused any comments to the media all week..

Under Florida Statute, it is unlawful for any person infected with HIV to have sexual intercourse with any other person, unless such person has been informed of the prescence of the virus and has consented to sexual intercourse.

Tampa Police tell WMNF that last week, the TPD received an anonymous tip that Rosas was running an escort service and advertising on local internet web sites.

The St. Petersburg Times reported yesterday that a local concert promoter - Al Beronda - called the St. Petersburg Times on Wednesday to alert them of Rosas' arrest. Beronda and Rosas had an ugly falling out last year, after Rosas was fired by Beronda while working with Beronda on a failed Music Festival last year.....Rosas accused Beronda of fraud, and subsequently e-mailed reporters prior arrest records .

Tampa Police Spokesman Captain Bob Guidera would NOT confirm if Beronda was the source of the tip (roll tape#1 o.q. "or that intelligence")

Armed also with the tip that Rosas is HIV Positive, Captain Bob Guidera says that issue was brought up with Rosas immediately after he was told he was under arrest for prostitution (roll tape#2 o.q."was levied")

According to Florida law, people can be charged with criminal transmission of HIV if they tested positive for the disease and then committed or offered to commit prostitution.

24 states have adopted statutes that criminalize exposure or transmission of HIV generally or specifically by at least some form of specific behavior such as spitting, donating blood, or sexual intercourse.

Tampa Police say they have no idea - if at all - how long Rosas may have been having sex with other people and not disclosing his status (roll tape#3 o.q."I don't have that information")

Mauricio Rosas is well known in local activism circles......Most notably, he and 2 elderly women were arrested on trespassing charges at a George W. Bush rally at Legends Field in Tampa back in the summer of 2001

After the trespassing charges were dropped, Rosas and the 2 women...- Jan Lentz and Sonia Haupt - sued the city of Tampa, alleging unlawful police misconduct and deprivation of their 1st Amendment Rights........

Rosas has also been a fierce advocate for Hillsborough County's indigent Health care program, and literally got in the face of anti-pornography activist David Caton at a County Commission Meeting last year regarding an anti-Nudity Ordinance.

Rosas has worked at the offices of political activist and business entrepreneur Joe Redner....He has nothing but positive things to speak about Rosas' character (roll tape#4 o.q."compassionate individual")

And Redner says he doesn't believe the alleged actions of Rosas hurts the causes he and others on the political left are fighting for (roll tape#5 o.q."to take that away")

OUTRO: Criminal Transmission of HIV is punishable up to 5 years in prison.

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