Suspect, allegedly HIV positive, arrested for solicitation
Carbon County officials have leveled three felony charges against a Price man who told police he was HIV positive after allegedly offering to pay an underage male for sex.
On June 5, Carbon County Attorney Jeremy Humes filed multiple charges against Leon Carl Mead, 58, including Aggravated Exploitation of Prostitution, a second degree felony; Sexual Solicitation HIV Positive, a third degree felony; and Distribution of Pornography by an Adult.
According to Price Police Capt. Bill Barnes, the charges stem from a May 24 incident which reportedly occurred beneath the underpass on U.S. Highway 6 and 100 North.
"The victim told us that he had stopped in the shade while walking to work and was then approached by Mead," said Barnes.
The suspect allegedly offered a small amount of money for a particular sex act and then quickly tripled his offer for a slightly different act when the young man declined, said Barnes. Reportedly "appalled" by the conversation at this point, the complainant quickly fled the area.
After reaching his place of employment, the juvenile recounted the incident to his boss and then called area police.
"He gave a very detailed description of both the conversation and Mead," said Barnes. "His description helped the responding patrol officer to locate and detain the suspect."
During a subsequent interview, Mead allegedly told police about his HIV status and confirmed the chain of events as reported by the complainant.
Two of the three charges brought against Mead where amplified because the individual he allegedly solicited was underage and he reportedly knew of his HIV status when the solicitation occurred.
According to Barnes, crimes like solicitation are very rare in Price, occurring approximately once a year and typically tied to a task force investigation. He did, however, state that cases such as this remind everyone to be vigilant and careful at all times. Early reports of the incident have already brought multiple comments to the department.
"We have gotten some complaints because the charges could be construed as naming the victim as a prostitute. I want to make it clear that the charges filed in no way reflect the complainant," explained Barnes. "That is simply the way the law is written."