The San Mateo Couty prosecutors said that an HIV-positive Pacifica man was sentenced to 30 years in state prison Thursday morning for allegedly drugging 15 dates, and along with unidentified accomplices, sexually assaulting the victims.
Joseph Paul Courtney, 33, pleaded no contest 14 felony sexual assaults including sodomy by force or threat while acting in concert, sodomy by use of drugs and sodomy of an unconscious person. Six of those felonies were also deemed violent.
Courtney admitted to being aware of his HIV status at the time these crimes were committed. Unfortunately, at least one of the victims has subsequently tested positive for HIV, even as the court opted not to prove that Cortney was the person who transmitted the virus.
Prosecutors shared that the victims met with Courtney for the purpose of consensual sex, but he dosed them with GHB and other drugs without their consent, of course. The victims became unconscious after, and that’s when Courtney allegedly brought other men who participated in the assaults.
Horrifically, some of the assaults were even filmed, and on at least one occasion Courtney even showed that footage of the victim featured in the video.
Courtney’s lawyer, Steven Chase, argued that the sex in question was consensual. He defended: “This was a bunch of men engaging in the very dangerous behavior.”
The victims knew they were going to use drugs but they later claimed they were drugged to a point of unconsciousness.
Courtney will now have to serve at least 80 percent of his sentence or 24 years. He will not be eligible for parole.