By The TimesLedger
Somewhere in Queens a taxi driver, the mother of three teenage boys, is in fear of her life. The woman says she was raped and sodomized repeatedly by a man with a gun. Her attacker forced her to lie in the back of her cab as her attacker drove to various locations in the Rosedale section of Queens.
The police arrested the alleged rapist and, if he is convicted, it is likely that he will spend the better part of the rest of his life in prison. But the terror is not over for his victim. She must now live with the fear that her rapist has AIDS and that she, too, may now be infected with the HIV virus.
Unfortunately, the law cannot force the suspect in this case to submit a blood sample for HIV testing. It could take a year or more before this case is tried. That is far too long for this victim to wait.
The dilemma is not new. It arises every time a woman is raped and it arises occasionally when a police officer gets involved in a scuffle and comes into contact with a suspect’s blood. The fear these people face is real.
As we see it, the rights of the victim in this type of situation outweigh the rights of the accused to privacy. The information would not be made public and would be given only to the victim. At a pretrial hearing, a judge could decide whether there is sufficient evidence to require a defendant to submit to testing.
This should be a no-brainer for the state Legislature. But don’t count on it. Look for the inflexible and very vocal AIDS lobby and NYCLU to oppose even the most carefully worded legislation. But such a change in the law is only common sense. If a victim learns that her attacker is HIV positive, she can begin immediate prophylactic treatment to delay or even prevent the onset of AIDS. The possibility of saving the victim’s life far outweighs the intrusion into the privacy of a suspected rapist.