Former area teacher arrested on HIV exposure charge

A former area school teacher facing a past charge of sexually assaulting a girl has again been arrested, this time on a charge of knowingly exposing that alleged victim and an ex-wife to HIV.

 

“This is an ongoing case,” Aiken Department of Public Safety Lt. David Turno said Friday. “This is something that came to light during the investigation.”

Joel Lynn Bedenbaugh , 47, now of Camden, S.C., was charged last year with criminal sexual conduct involving an 11-year-old girl, allegations that spanned from 2003 to 2005. Lt. Turno said that case is still awaiting trial, adding that while investigating, “his (Mr. Bedenbaugh’s) HIV status was informed to us.”

Officers then contacted the alleged victim and an ex-wife of Mr. Bedenbaugh to see if they were aware he had Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Lt. Turno said that when officers learned the two had not been informed an additional charge of exposing others to HIV was added to Mr. Bedenbaugh.

“That’s a violation of state law,” Lt. Turno said.

Mr. Bedenbaugh turned himself in to the Aiken County Detention Center on Thursday and was bailed out the same day. Mr. Bedenbaugh was a former part time art teacher at St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic School in Aiken and at Warren Road Elementary in West Augusta, according for Augusta Chronicle archives.

Lt. Turno said it’s the first time he can recall his department making such a charge involving HIV. According to state law, anyone who knowingly exposes someone to HIV without first notifying the person of their condition can be charged with a felony punishable by up to a $5,000 fine or up to 10 years in prison.

The law also states it is illegal for someone who knows they have HIV to engage in prostitution; sell or donate blood or other bodily fluids; forcibly engage in sexual intercourse without the person’s consent, including a legal spouse; or to share a needle or syringe with someone without notifying them of their HIV condition.

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