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Coach Sent to Prison for Deliberately Infecting Player’s Mother with HIV

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by Dr. Boyce Watkins

According to the Dallas Morning News, Jimmy Bernard Billingsley has been sent to prison for aggravated assault causing serious bodily injury after he admitted to sleeping with the mother of one of his players without using protection.   What is unfortunate for the young man’s mom is that Billingsley had known for quite some time that he was actually HIV-positive.

The man dated the player’s mother back in 2009, and for his despicable crimes, he was facing up to 20 years in prison. State District Judge Robb Catalano gave him 15 years, where he won’t be free to harm anyone else for quite some time.

According to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office, Billingsley admitted that he’d “been intimate on numerous occasions with a woman he met in 2009 while coaching her son’s youth football team.”

Upon finding out that she was HIV-positive, the woman called police because he was the only man she’d been sleeping with.  She said that Billingsley insisted upon sleeping with her without protection and the woman eventually succumbed to his pleas.  This made her believe that he had infected her deliberately.

On the stand, the man went on to admit that he’d slept with several people since finding out about his status and never told anyone that he had HIV.  That’s when the judge gave him 15 years in prison.

““This defendant’s intentional non-disclosure to numerous sex partners was egregious, dangerous, willful and malicious,” said Assistant District Attorney Joshua Ross in a prepared statement. “He is truly a snake in the grass. His sentence brings some justice to his known victim and provides a measure of protection for so many others.”

When I first read this story, three thoughts came to mind:

1) Jimmy Billingsley is not the only one.  Billingsley is not the only one to do this kind of thing, he’s just the one who got caught.  The next predator could be the person you allow into your bedroom, so perhaps you will want to be extremely thoughtful, patient and careful about who you choose to sleep with.  When I was a youth track coach a decade ago, I noticed a few single (and married) mothers who took interest in me, likely because I took care of their children.   While I appreciated the interest, I was astonished at how much trust I’d earned by simply having an honest face and a friendly smile.  The truth is that people with friendly smiles don’t always have your best interests at heart – you must take time to get to know them.

2) Jimmy’s arrest is the tip of the iceberg on the harm he has done to others: When someone does infect so many other people, the epidemic multiplies itself several times over, because these people are also sleeping with others as well.  As a result of Jimmy’s actions, there are 15 people who might be infected with HIV, some of whom may not even know their status.  When you consider someone like Magic Johnson, who admittedly slept with scores of women, the impact is simply mind-boggling.  Any epidemiologist will tell you that the spread of disease has a huge multiplier effect, where you can easily be harmed by the choices of people that you don’t even know.

3) The making of the STD epidemic in black America is quite simple:  A disproportionate number of black men are in prison, uneducated or unemployed, reducing the supply of men for women to marry.  This leads women themselves to have more partners over their lifespans, increasing their risk of infection.  Additionally, many men don’t go to the doctor to get regular STD panels (that means a check for ALL diseases, not just HIV), especially among those who’ve been marginalized in our society.  This is compounded by the fact that many people will do lots of creative things in the bedroom with people without having a clue about where their bodies have been (nearly every hip-hop song on the radio encourages men to have a slew of women).  So, the fact of the matter is that when you share yourself without thinking it through, you make yourself vulnerable to those who are not careful about their health.

My thoughts on this issue can be summed up with a personal story.   A 32-year old woman in Chicago sent me an email message, telling me that one of my articles might have saved her life.  I was curious to hear her story, so I gave her a call.  She told me that up until one month before, she’d been a virgin, waiting for her husband.  When her husband didn’t arrive, mother nature took over (a woman’s drive for “male companionship” tends to increase between 27 and 45 for various biological reasons).  The woman met a nice man, and slept with him.

The mistake the woman made was that, in the heat of passion, she didn’t protect herself.  She said that this was when she read my article about STDs in the black community and asked her new boyfriend if they could go get tested together.  He agreed to do so and they made plans to go to the doctor.  Unfortunately for the woman, this was the last time her new “boyfriend” ever returned her calls.   This indicated to me that he was accustomed to sleeping with women without protection and not being asked any questions.  It’s a dangerous world out here, so we have to be careful.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a professor at Syracuse University and author of the book, “Commercialized Hip-Hop: The Gospel of Self Destruction.” To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.