Metro-East News

Belleville man sentenced to 18 years in prison for exposing teen to HIV

Loren McDuffee pleaded guilty to two felonies because he said he wanted to “let the healing begin.”

McDuffee, 53, was sentenced Monday to 18 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

“I’m just hoping that this will do some good and won’t prolong these circumstances,” McDuffee told St. Clair County Judge Robert Haida.

McDuffee received the sentence on charges of criminal transmission of the HIV virus and criminal sexual assault.

Assistant State’s Attorney Bernadette Schrempp called the crime “disturbing.”

The victim was a 15-year-old boy, who prosecutors said was blacked out and vomiting from alcohol when the police entered McDuffee’s home and found the minor naked in McDuffee’s bed. McDuffee was naked from the waist down, Schrempp said.

Belleville police were called on Jan. 3 after the boy’s guardian became concerned because he was not home at the appointed time and she went looking for him, Schrempp said. She found his bicycle and his shoes on McDuffee’s porch. The teen’s DNA was found inside McDuffee, and his DNA was inside the boy.

McDuffee never told the boy he was HIV positive, Schrempp said. The victim has so far tested negative for HIV, Schrempp said, and appears to be healthy.

But McDuffee accepted responsibility, Schrempp and his defense lawyer, Alex Enyart, agreed.

McDuffee pleaded guilty to spare the boy being called to testify, although Enyart and Schrempp said McDuffee didn’t remember what had happened.

McDuffee didn’t have an easy life, Enyart told Haida. He was born in Massac County at the southern tip of Illinois, just across the Ohio River from Paducah, Kentucky. It’s the same county that houses Metropolis, the “Hometown of Superman.”

McDuffee was born in the poor, rural county to an alcoholic mother and an abusive, alcoholic father, and McDuffee was sexually abused as a child and suffered from bi-polar disorder and abused alcohol to cope, his lawyer said.

With good behavior in prison and credit for the time served in county jail since his arrest, McDuffee would be eligible for release in 2027.

Beth Hundsdorfer: 618-239-2570, @bhundsdorfer