Man with HIV sentenced for using sex as weapon against children, adults


CLEVELAND, Ohio (WJW) – A man who pleaded guilty to multiple counts of sexual battery and felonious assault was sentenced Tuesday.

Richard Morris sentencing, Cuyahoga County court, FOX 8 Photo

Prosecutors say Richard Morris, 38, sexually assaulted men and women, both teens and adults.

He was charged with the following:

  • 8 counts of rape
  • 3 counts of sexual battery
  • 6 counts of felonious assault
  • 1 count of possessing criminal tools

However, as part of a plea deal, Morris pleaded to four felonious assault charges and three sexual battery charges.

Judge Nancy Fuerst presided over the sentencing.

The FOX 8 I-Team previously reported that Morris assaulted the victims while knowingly carrying the virus that causes AIDS.

He was arrested in 2018. At that time there were believed to be 6 victims.

Richard Morris, Courtesy: Cuyahoga County Jail

“Part of taking advantage of them is not disclosing his status,” said the prosecution during the sentencing. The prosecutor’s office said Morris did not tell them he was HIV positive, so he exposed them without them knowing.

“He still chose to get into the relationship and expose children to this disease that he suffers from.”

Two of the victims were relatives, according to prosecutors.

“These were consensual relationships,” argued his defense attorney.

Morris apologized to his children and the victims.

The judge said he appeared to prey on people who were “down and out” or had limited mental capacity who have suffered long-term psychological damage.

“The court finds that recidivism is more likely,” said Judge Fuerst.

The judge sentenced him to a total of 23 years on the multiple charges.

He’ll be designated as a Tier 3 sex offender and will be under post-release supervision for 8 years.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Trending on

Today's Central OH Forecast

Get severe weather email alerts

Don't Miss

Local News

Full news conference: Ohio's chief medical officer discusses back-to-school recommendations

Updated Morning Forecast: July 27, 2021

Columbus council: New police contract ‘not perfect,’ will allow independent investigations into officer misconduct

Residents mixed on Ohio's mask recommendation for schools

Fire breaks out on apartment roof above Urban Meyers Pint House in Dublin

RAW: Fire on roof of apartment above Urban Meyer's Pint House in Dublin

More Local News