KENT COUNTY, MI – A man said he had a ‘weird’ feeling after having consensual sex with 32-year-old Jeremy Merithew, whom he met on the internet and assured him he was HIV negative.
He was so worried that after leaving Merithew’s apartment, he dragged his car to the side of the road to message him from a different screen name. He then learned Merithew was dishonest about his status.
The victim testified today at Jeremy Merithew’s preliminary hearing in 63rd District Court before Judge Steven Servaas.
Merithew, of Plainfield Township, was arrested on August 16 and is charged with sexual penetration with an uninformed partner, a four-year felony. He posted a $ 500 bond.
On August 17, Kent County Sheriff’s Deputies issued a public notice that considered Merithew’s activity to be a potential threat to public health and asked anyone who had been “exposed” to him to contact the Department of Health. County of Kent for testing.
The victim said he struck up a conversation with Merithew on August 9 on adam4adam.com, which he described as a “gay hook up” website for “engaging in sex acts with men”.
During their initial instant message conversation, he asked Merithew a series of questions, including whether he was HIV negative.
“I didn’t want to get infected,” the man told court. “I usually ask this question.”
Reading a printed copy of the conversation in court, the victim said Merithew answered “yes”.
The victim went to Merithew’s apartment the day they met on the internet. Before having sex, he said he asked Merithew, “You’re negative, aren’t you?” to which he alleged that Merithew answered yes.
After leaving the Plainfield Township apartment, the victim dragged his car to the side of the road and texted Merithew on adam4adam.com from a different screen name. He asked if Merithew was HIV positive, to which he said yes, the victim alleged.
Kent County Sheriff Detective Justin DeBoode testified today that during the investigation Merithew informed him that he was HIV positive and was diagnosed in May 2007. His computer hard drive was seized for investigation.
Judge Servaas adjourned the remainder of the preliminary hearing for next week but did not set a date.