Mother in HIV case pleads for privacy
Jennifer: "I am here as a mother to plead with you to respect my son's privacy."
Father accused of giving boy virus to avoid child support
In this story:
April 24, 1998
Web posted at: 9:13 p.m. EDT (0113 GMT)
ST. CHARLES, Missouri (CNN) -- The mother of a 7-year-old boy
allegedly injected with the AIDS virus by his father made an
emotional plea for privacy Friday, saying her son is trying
to live as normally as possible for whatever time he has
"I plead with you to respect the privacy and the dignity of
my son and my family," said the woman, who identified herself
only as Jennifer, at a press conference. "He has been through
so much already. My main concern is for his well-being and
happiness, and that my children are not victimized any
further by this incident."
Jennifer also offered her thanks for the outpouring of
support she has received since her son's plight became
"I would like to take this chance to just express my sincere
gratitude to all the people -- literally around the world --
for your kind thoughts, gestures of love, prayers and concern
for my son," she said.
|Part of the press conference
|The boy's mother, Jennifer, describes her son's struggle with the disease
730KB/70 sec. AIFF or WAV sound
Brian Stewart, 31, the boy's biological father, is accused of
injecting him with HIV when he was 11 months old in an effort
to avoid paying child support. Stewart entered a not guilty
plea Thursday to charges of first-degree assault, which
prosecutors say will be upgraded to murder if his son dies.
Stewart is still in jail, with bail set at $500,000.
Boy, near death 2 years ago, has improved
Jennifer's son, born in 1991, was diagnosed with AIDS in
1996. At the time, Jennifer said, he was near death. His
immune system was destroyed, he was suffering from incurable
liver and spleen disorders, his digestive system had shut
down, and he had a chronic fever of 105 degrees.
Jennifer said her son's condition has improved since his
diagnosis and that "he's feeling much better and is now
finally able to enjoy more of his childhood." She said his
immune system has bounced back somewhat, although it is still
only about half as strong as that of a typical healthy
However, some of the medication he was given has left him
with a permanent hearing impairment, and he still takes 10
different medications daily, some through a permanent tube in
his abdomen, Jennifer said.
"Through the prayers and those involved in his treatment, he
has managed to remain alive and is showing remarkable
improvement," she said. "However, due to the complications
associated with this disease, ... [it] will always be a daily
struggle to live."
"We live daily with the realization that he will die of this
disease or the complications that are related to this," she
said. "He is now trying to live the life of an ordinary 7-
year-old child. He has been denied this for most of his short
life. He attends school as much as his health allows him to
Prosecutor: Case circumstantial
St. Charles County prosecutor Tim Braun said much of the case
against Stewart is built on circumstantial evidence, although
there is some "direct evidence."
He said two witnesses will testify about conversations they
had with Stewart that support the charge. One allegedly heard
Stewart make a comment "to the effect of 'You don't have to
worry about me paying child support because the child won't
live long enough,'" Braun said.
Stewart worked as a hospital blood technician. The boy was
allegedly injected with HIV-infected blood in February 1992
at a hospital in St. Charles, where he was being treated for
a respiratory problem.
On the day the injection allegedly took place, Stewart, who
did not work at that hospital, was seen carrying a type of
lab coat that would have been out of season, Braun said.
"The inference that we would have is that he had blood in
there, and if somebody looked in the pocket of the coat, he
would say, 'Oh, I had that left over from my other job' or 'I
forgot to take that out,'" Braun said.
Father's lawyer: He's being tried in media
But Stewart's court-appointed attorney, Joe Murphy, accused
prosecutors of outrageous conduct and said his client was
being tried and convicted in the media.
"My client has maintained all along that he is innocent,"
Murphy said. "And I believe him."
At her press conference, Jennifer declined to answer any
questions or discuss the facts of the criminal case.
"I firmly believe that the court of law should be where this
is all addressed, and it will be taken care of there," she
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