Curry County man accused of trying to spread HIV through sex

James Propes is now in custody and faces attempted assault charges.

Posted: Jul 30, 2019 4:28 PM
Updated: Jul 30, 2019 5:17 PM

GOLD BEACH, Ore. — Deputies arrested a Gold Beach man last week following a report that he was "spreading or attempting to spread" the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) through sex without telling his partner.

According to the Curry County Sheriff's Office, deputies took James Allen Propes into custody shortly after 1 p.m. last Thursday. The Sheriff's Office had received a complaint "months prior" claiming that Propes had been knowingly trying to spread the disease.

Court records show that Propes has been charged with both first and second degree attempted assault by "manifesting extreme indifference to the value of human life" in potentially transmitting HIV without notifying the other person. The same document also claims that Propes had been on parole at the time, and had "engaged in persistent involvement in similar offenses" unrelated to this particular case.

"Due to the risk to public health, the Curry County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone with information about this case or who may have had consensual contact with Propes to contact Curry County Sheriff’s Detectives at 541-247-3242 x4," the agency said in a statement.

Contemporary news reports and court records indicate that Propes faced similar charges in Oregon back in 2012 and was convicted, then faced more charges in Georgia in 2016 before being sentenced to 10 years in prison.

A decision furnished by the Georgia Court of Appeals on June 1, 2018 overturned Propes' conviction in Georgia because the prosecution did not present any concrete proof of Propes' HIV-positive status — i.e. an approved medical test confirming that status. While law enforcement in both Oregon and Georgia provided evidence that Propes admitted he had HIV, the Appeals Court determined that this was not sufficient.

At his Curry County arraignment on July 26, Propes reportedly got up and walked out of the room and had to be ordered to return. He was found in contempt of court, with his bail set at $1 million.

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